The dream run of the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans’ junior representative sides has come to an end after they were eliminated from the finals race in Sydney at the weekend.
The Harold Matthews (under-16s) and SG Ball (under-18s) sides had performed strongly all year to finish in fourth and fifth in their respective competitions at the end of the regular season.
However, both bowed out of the finals at the weekend, with the Harold Matthews side losing to Central Coast 36-30 and the SG Ball side suffering a 40-12 loss to Newcastle.
Despite the results, it was an encouraging season for both sides and yet another indication that the club’s future is in good hands.
Harold Matthews coach Aaron Zimmerle said there were many positives to come out of his side’s inaugural season in the NSW-based competition, adding he was already looking forward to next season.
“Obviously we would like to be playing finals footy next week but the experiences we have had this year means that all of us, players and coaching staff, will be taking our games to a higher level in the future and that is what it’s all about,’’ he said.
At half-time the scores were level at 16-all and the Titans were well-placed to fulfil their finals ambitions.
However, a three-try blitz by the Storm saw the score balloon out to 32-16 within the space of 10 minutes and this in effect spelled the end for the Titans boys.
“We were competing well until that passage of play and although it is all credit to the boys that they fought their way back to 36-30, our lack of focus really cost us. Consistency is the key in any level of rugby league and our lapses in concentration meant that the game got away from us,’’ Zimmerle said.
Zimmerle said that while he was proud of the entire squad, Cory McGrady and Jack Durheim deserved special mention.
The Titans’ SG Ball side were in the hunt until half-time against ninth-placed Newcastle, trailing 18-12.
But the Knights ran in four unanswered tries after the break to seal the Titans’ fate and end their run in the competition.
A handful of SG Ball players are now likely step up and train with the NYC (under-20s) squad for the remainder of the year.
An awards night will be held for the junior sides in the coming months.