U21s Through to the Grand Final

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Mendi Blackhawks U21s are through to the grand final after defeating Wynnum Manly 42-22.  Photo Scott Davis / QRL



Our Under 21s will look to go one better this year, when they play in back to back Hastings Deering Colts deciders, after securing a spot in Saturday’s showdown with Redcliffe, ending Wynnum’s premiership defence and getting revenge for last season’s grand final heartbreak.

The Seagulls flew out of the blocks at Bishop Park grabbing the game’s opening points, but Townsville’s response was swift and emphatic, with wingers Ragarive Wavik and Jacob Mene both scoring in the first 15 minutes.

The latter finished off a sweeping backline move before his fellow flyer took an intercept and took his try-scoring tally to 27 for the year, sprinting the length of the field.

The Mendi Blackhawks claimed another long range try after Eddie Hampson made a line break in his own half, having drawn the fullback the backrower then passed to an unmarked Jordan Lipp.

The captain then bagged a quick fire double to give his team a commanding lead at the break with Zac Laybutt crossing from close range, not once but twice.

He had his teammate to thank for his second try though, Jacob Mene shrugged off several would be tacklers and offloaded to Townsville’s skipper, who had the simplest of tasks.

Coach Steve Sheppard told his players not to get ahead of themselves in the sheds.

“I essentially said mimic that first half. Get through our sets, there’s no need to start doing anything different, just be us,” Sheppard said.

The runaway leaders picked up where they left off, at the start of the second half.

Jordan Lipp cut back on an angle to split the defence and stroll over untouched from ten metres out. He then threw the last pass for another four pointer, as Ragarive Wavik was once again on the end of some slick ball movement.

While the centre perhaps could have gone himself, he didn’t have to wait long to complete his hattrick. More Mendi Blackhawks hot potato passing, gave the speedster enough room to plant the ball down out wide despite taking out the corner post.

With the job done, Townsville turned its attention to the big dance and the Seagulls snuck in a flurry of late points to add some respectability to the scoreboard, 42-22 was the final score.

Sheppard’s post match message was a mixture of praise and pragmatism.

“I really loved the performance for 70 minutes but clocking off could prove costly in the grand final. So that was a lesson learned and we need to right those wrongs if we want to beat Redcliffe.”

The Mendi Blackhawks won when the teams faced off at Jack Manski Oval, in week one of the finals. Triumphing again, this time on the Dolphins home ground, at Moreton Daily Stadium, will secure the club’s maiden premiership.