Jeremy Titmarsh slides in for Middlemount in the under-16 semi final with Clermont.
Jeremy Titmarsh slides in for Middlemount in the under-16 semi final with Clermont. Paul Ellison

Finals fever takes hold

THE final few games this season have been a rollercoaster ride for the Blackwater Crushers under-18s.

After rising through two semi-final play-offs they're now on the cusp of a Central Highlands grand final win with one team standing in their path, Emerald Tigers.

The Blackwater battlers were given a fright by the division's minor premiers Emerald Brothers in the second semi-final at the weekend. Just a single conversion was all that seperated the two semi-finalists but again it was Blackwater who prevailed, running out 32-30 winners over Brothers.

The club's under-18 juniors will be in good company at the Springsure finals with Blackwater Crushers under-14s also ready and willing to fight for title rights against Middlemount Panthers.

The Crushers cemented their grand final berth after a 46-36 drubbbing of Emerald Tigers in the first semi-final in Dsyart.

It has been a spectacular season for the Crushers under-14s who are not only their grade's minor premiers, they're also yet to lose a game this season.

However that could all come undone this weekend if they lose the most important game of the year. It's a notion that's not lost on their coach Mal Williams who has been busily preparing his junior charges, both mentally and physically, for what is to come.

"We're quietly confident," Williams said.

"I've been telling them every win brings them that little bit closer to the final.

"We've had a few worries with the team but we're back to full strength now. They trained well on Thursday and we'll have a few more this week."

While they may have their own game wrapped up, Williams said Middlemount always presented as a formidable force not to be treated lightly.

"They're very strong out wide and have got three Central Highlands representative players in their backline," he said.


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