'Were no cheaters', says Bulls president
IT WAS a controversial end to a tough Central Highlands rugby union season for the Clermont Bushpigs, while in Tieri, Capella Cattledogs ran rampant over a lacklustre Emerald Rams 50-0 to book their place in the 2011 grand final.
A dispute over the allowable player numbers overshadowed a gripping semi-final clash between the Moranbah Bulls and the Bushpigs.
With the scores locked up 39-all at full time, the game was forced into extra time.
A desperate dive by Moranbah prop Scott Deans under the posts to score finally broke the stalemate to keep their premiership hopes alive.
Moranbah’s victory was called into question when Clermont allegedly questioned the number of players who took to the field.
However Bulls president Kristian Paul wasn’t having a bar of it, flatly denying any wrongdoing.
“We ran 23 players on the field,” Paul said.
“By no means were we cheating.
“I know it (the protest) got as far as Brisbane.
“IF they had an issue on the day they should have come and spoken to me.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-event.”
Whatever concern the Clermont club did have, their coach Josh Scott said they were happy to let bygones be bygones, instead pointing to their own deficiencies for the weekend loss.
“We’re out for the season, that’s it,” Scott said.
“We just didn’t have the fitness and that’s what let us down in the end.”
After rebuilding their team line-up from the ground up this season, Scott said it had been massive learning curve for the brand new Bushpigs outfit.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge fronting up with such a young side,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll run better next year.”
Capella Cattledogs continued their charge toward the premiership title with a convincing win over the Emerald Rams in the competition’s major semi-final.
The mammoth 50-point scoreline held all the hallmarks of a side on the cusp of premiership glory.
“They stuck it (to) us and then dropped right off,” Cattledogs coach Chris Roberts said.
“I was more than happy with our performance but we were kind of ordinary at the breakdown.”
Rams spokesman Simon Green said their game errors were as plain as the light of the day.
“They handed us a lesson. We missed far too many tackles and they pounced on every little mistake we made and scored points from all over the park,” Green said.
“Credit where credit is due, they deserve to be in the final and they deserve to be the benchmark team in the competition.”
A premiership would be a fitting end to a strong season for the Cattledogs, who are also celebrating the club’s 20-year anniversary.
However it was steady-as-she-goes for Roberts and his Capella side, all too aware the most crucial game is yet to be played.
“We’ve got a few injuries but we’ll be ready,” Roberts said. “It’s all up to us now.”
The Rams will meet Moranbah in this weekend’s preliminary final in Emerald, in a sudden-death elimination to decide who will meet Capella in the grand final in two weeks time.