14 May, 2024

Hawks victory over injury wracked Warriors

The Toowoomba Rugby League clash between Wattles Warriors and Gatton Hawks at Gatton’s Cahill Park can certainly be considered a game that got away from the Stillwater Pastoral Company Warriors with the home side snatching a 34 to 30 win ten minutes from full time.

First grade front-rower Cooper Tate-Roche has been among Wattles key performers as the 2024 season unfolds. Photo courtesy Western Clydesdales
First grade front-rower Cooper Tate-Roche has been among Wattles key performers as the 2024 season unfolds. Photo courtesy Western Clydesdales

While they took the field without star mainstays in captain Ty Gardner and fullback Jackson Green, for the initial forty minutes it was all Wattles as they headed to the half time break holding a 20-4 advantage.

Gardner succumbed to a knee injury in last week’s clash with Brothers that will sideline him for some time, while Green injured a leg in Sunday’s pre-match warm-up.

Wattles’ ranks were further depleted with the loss of gutsy lock Nick Van Der Poel in the opening play of the match.

But despite the injuries, the Warriors dominated the first half that saw both sides score six tries apiece.

However, coach Travis Burns was anything but encouraged by his team’s second half performance.

“It’s just not what we have grown to expect from a Wattles team, it needs to be addressed with urgency,” Burns said.

He highlighted the efforts of front-rower Cooper Tate-Roche and consistent winger Mitch Bourke - both have been front line performers in green and gold across the first five season fixtures.

Fullback Kai Duggan put Wattles on the scoreboard after nine minutes, and while Hawks’ centre Brandon Clarke touched down five minutes later, the focus of the game swung convincingly Wattles’ way after tries by centre Andrew Richardson, hooker Tom Hatch and bullocking front-rower Tate-Roche.

It can be said classy Hawks five-eighth Luke Self opened a thirty-point floodgate in front of the home crowd when he scored minutes after the restart.

His was the first of five second stanza Gatton tries that ushered them to victory.

A second try by Tate-Roche in the 48th minute followed with a touchdown by centre Matt Christensen had Wattles sailing with a 30-12 lead with 20 minutes to play.

The green and gold match plan fell into disarray after a try double in the space of five minutes by slick Hawks three-quarter Nick Short, bringing a halt to the Wattles juggernaut, with the Hawks trailing by 28-30.

The Hawk’s inspiring fightback was rewarded when Kyle Blackman crossed, backed up by a successful Leonard Burns conversion to give the home side their winning margin.

Wattles were reduced to twelve with the loss to the sin-bin of Kai Duggan twelve minutes from the full-time siren, both sides fighting out a gritty final ten minutes, where Wattles were unable to cash in further points.

Gatton 34 defeated Wattles 30 (Cooper Tate-Roche 2, Kai Duggan, Andrew Richardson, Tom Hatch, Matt Christensen tries; Braydon Paix 3 goals).

Reserve Grade

The FarmSpray Reserve Grade side accounted for Gatton 16-14.

In a tough stoush where the sides posted three tries each, back-rower Jack Duggan, halfback Tom Morris and fullback Joe Willett were in exceptional form, while team mates Josh Henry, Lachlan Henry and team skipper Tom Duggan also shone in the result.

Wattles 16 (Tom Morris, Lachlan Henry, Jack Duggan tries; Tom Morris 2 goals) defeated Gatton 14.

Under 19

The Black Toyota-Warwick Under 19 line-up put together a polished display to overwhelm the Hawks 18-6, the win locking them into fourth place on the competition ladder.

The Sullivan brothers, Atticus and team captain Reuben, along with back-rower George Nott shone in the convincing result, while winger Koby De Luca contributed fourteen of Wattles’ points.

It was an exceptional effort on the part of Atticus Sullivan, who on Saturday was an outstanding performer for the Wattles Junior Rugby League Club’s Under 17 outfit against Goondiwindi.

Wattles 18 (Koby De Luca 2, Bryce Stewart tries; Koby De Luca 3 goals) defeated Gatton 6.

Wattles host the Southern Suburbs Tigers at Clifton’s Platz Oval on Sunday.

It will be a day of celebration as Wattles hosts its annual Ladies Day, while on field the clubs contest the Ragh Family Trophy.

The trophy had its beginnings in 2005 when it was won by Wattles at Platz Oval.

The Ragh family has enjoyed a significant involvement in rugby league in Killarney, the Southern Suburbs club in Toowoomba and the Allora-Clifton Wattles area.

The award is judged on all matches played on the day, with the club dominating the results holding the trophy for the following year.

- Glyn Rees


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