Gympie-Noosa put up an epic fight to show their potential
LIKE the Socceroos at the World Cup, it wasn't the result, it was how they played.
Nobody gave Gympie-Noosa a hope of beating their heavily fancied opponents, competition-leaders Kawana at Albert Park on Saturday night, but like the Socceroos the Pirate-Devils showed just how much potential they have by more than matching it with the favourites.
It wasn't looking that way as Kawana raced out to an early 10-0 lead, but a spirited fightback from the home side had them well in the game, before a try with 20 minutes left on the clock reduced the Dolphins' lead to four and had the local fans on their feet with the score at a tense 16-12.
A crucial drop ball off the kick-off though killed Gympie-Noosa's momentum, as it led to Kawana's fourth and ultimately match-sealing try the following set.
"Obviously we're disappointed we didn't win, but overall it was a very positive match for us," Gympie Rugby League president Jim Bougoure said.
"The boys were very upbeat about their performance after the game, and I think Kawana were relieved to get the win in the end.
"We really stuck it to them in defence, and had some good phases in attack as well.
"Kurt Fleming led from the front again, and was at his usual best."
Showing their total dominance of the Sunshine Coast competition, the win is Kawana's 14th straight this season, sitting undefeated at the top of the ladder with a +502 points difference (Caloundra is next best on +265).
"We really showed on Saturday night that we have the talent there to beat anyone in this competition," Bougoure said.
Gympie-Noosa's biggest chance of claiming a maiden victory will come this weekend against fifth-placed Nambour, who sit just three points clear of them on the ladder.
A win over the Crushers would move the Pirate-Devils within touching distance of hosting a final against them.
After a narrow 18-16 victory over Maroochydore last week, it was another nerve-racking game for the reserve grade Gympie-Noosa side on Saturday, fighting back from a 22-0 deficit to beat Kawana 34-30.
"It was great to see the reserves win two in a row, it's certainly good for the A-grade players to have that depth in the squad," Bougoure said.