Maurius Stander runs it for against Colts at Rugby Park in Rockhampton.
Maurius Stander runs it for against Colts at Rugby Park in Rockhampton.

Side powers away to win

THEY have been arguably the strongest team all season, having already claimed the division's minor premiership and admiration from many. Now they're set for the ultimate test in this weekend's Central Queensland under-16 junior rugby union final against Rockhampton Brothers.

Their place in the grand final comes on the back of a touch-and-go 20-17 win over the Rockhampton-based Colts side last weekend.

With the form the youngsters have shown this season, it was a game their coach, Beau Clarke, said they should have won by a much wider margin.

"We could have smashed them by 20 or 30 points," Clarke said.

"They (CH) didn't stick to the game plan."

However it was the small indecisions that were quickly forgotten after one powerhouse Central Highlands' tackle.

So often a high-intensity match can be won or lost through a single play, or has the ability to shift the momentum at least.

The Central Highlands' power moment came from one of the smallest and certainly gutsiest players running around on match day.

CH openside flanker Koby Scott never gave it a second thought when he took on a rampaging Colts forward, destined to score.

"This big fella burst through one tackle, past another and ran straight into Koby," Clarke said.

"He took him basically head-on.

"It was pretty wild."

This Central Highlands outfit is not your average age-graded football side. Many players know each other inside and out having played together in the CH U14 side last year, which was also coached by Clarke.

But unbeknown to many is that all bar three are not even 16 years old, and still have one year to play in the age group.

"Only three of them are 16, all the rest are 15," Clarke said.

It's good news for the region and coach Clarke, who remarkably can still see plenty of potential yet to emerge from his young prodigies.

In the meantime, they have a final to play and no one be resting easy until they see out the season and the job is done.

CH would be wise to be wary of its Brothers' opposition who are coming off a solid 29-14 win against Frenchville. Two early tries gave them the lead, and from there Frenchville never recovered.

Coach Clarke said his forwards better pack their drink bottles on Saturday, because they will be squeezing them all day.

"We're expecting a lot of close forward work from Brothers," he said.

"A lot of pick-and-drive.

"We'll try and wear down in the first half, then run it around them."

After all the pressure and all the excitement of the grand final hype fades, Clarke said he hoped the boys would pause and think about where they've from to be there at that moment.

"They have all played exceptionally well all season," he said.

"This is the pinnacle of all their hard work through the year.

"They have stuck to the game plan. It's worked all year and will work again.

"Just play for each other."

CH and Brothers' U16 will clash on Saturday in Rockhampton.

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