STRONG: It was defence like this that saw the Cougars 18s progress to this Sunday's NRRRL grand final against Ballina.
STRONG: It was defence like this that saw the Cougars 18s progress to this Sunday's NRRRL grand final against Ballina. Brian Olive

A gutsy game leads Cougars to grand final

THE Casino RSM Cougars 18s side steam rolled their way into the NRRRL grand final with a 28-20 win over Marist Brothers in Sunday's final at Cudgen.

The Graham's Concrete sponsored side will be the first U18s Cougars side to get to the season's decider since 1995, and will meet Ballina in Ballina.

Things did look a little ominous early when the big Brethren pack stormed down field to grab a 6-0 lead, but in spirited fashion the Cougars replied with tries to Thomas Walker and two to Eddie O'Connor.

In scoring his second he certainly put his stamp on the game by beating two or three defenders on his way to the line.

An intercept try to Brothers narrowed the gap, but on the stroke of half- time, Kane Fraser bustled his way through plenty of tacklers to score and send the teams to the sheds with Casino leading 18-12.

Both sides were a little nervy after the break and when Marist Brothers crossed after six minutes, the Cougars had to respond again. Firstly hooker Matt Sorentti dummied his way over from a ruck near the line to score under the posts before Eddie O'Connor finished off a great backline movement to put the issue beyond doubt.

It was a gutsy performance led by the forwards who took the ball up hard all game and tackled resiliently.

This was accentuated by a backline who showed plenty of speed.

In a good sign for rugby league in Casino, both under 15s and 16s also play in the junior grand finals on Saturday.

Meanwhile a big congratulations to first grade halfback Tahne Robinson who was named NRRRL Rookie Player Of the Year on presentation night.

The Cougars presentation night will be held at the Casino RSM Club on Friday, September 15.

One-eyed Cougar



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