MORRY BREEN OVAL: SATURDAY, 22nd SEPTEMBER, 2012
Avoca Beach 28 (Luke Sheridan, Matt Maloney, Jacob Briggs tries; Matt Maloney 2 conversions, 3 penalty goals) defeated Kariong 14 (Shannon Beavan, Derick Peachey tries; Scott Hanley 2 conversions)
Avoca Beach 18 (Stephen Lamb, Elliott Dawkins tries; Tom Russell 1 conversion, 2 penalty goals) defeated
Ourimbah 16 (Ryan Keegan try; Michael Hourn 1 conversion, 3 penalty goals)
Avoca Beach 11 (Jay Steele try; Jono Hirst 1 penalty goal; Ben Spindler 1 field goal) defeated
Northlakes 10 (Bill Moroney try; Marshall Hemopo 1 penalty goal, 1 conversion)
Terrigal 21 (Michael McDonnell, Brad Bayliss tries; Alec Herridge 1 conversion, 3 penalty goals) defeated The Entrance 8 (Harley Donoghue try; Jarrod Grange 1 penalty goal)
Avoca Beach won the 2012 First Grade Premiership when they defeated Kariong at Morry Breen Oval by 28 points to 14. Avoca Beach were the better team on the day and the win saw Avoca Beach gain another First Grade Premiership.
The Grand Final kicked off under beautiful conditions, with excellent weather and a wonderful playing surface. There was also a big crowd in attendance. The first 15 minutes of the match proved a real struggle with both teams testing each other out with a series of forward exchanges but neither team was making any significant inroads. If anything, it was Kariong who dominated territory during that time. They spent a lot of time in the Avoca Beach half. This gained a result for them in the 12th minute when their prop and captain Shannon Beavan made an excellent 20 metre run to crash over adjacent to the posts. It was the start that Kariong wanted. The try was converted and Kariong had jumped to an early 7 points to nil lead. Avoca Beach quickly responded 2 minutes later when their winger Matt Maloney kicked a penalty goal to reduce the lead to 7 points to 3. This remained the score for much of the remainder of the first half. Both teams had their chances and both teams had periods of attack but good defence from the opposing team saw all attacking movements come to nothing. It was certainly developing into a war of attrition with neither team able to gain the edge. Kariong had long periods of possession and at times Avoca Beach could just not get their hands on the ball. The best players for each of the teams at this stage gave it their all. Prop Shannon Beavan was leading from the front and everywhere in attack and defence. Halfback Scott Hanley was playing well and was scheming to gain the upper hand. Avoca Beach were being led around the paddock by lock Adam Winter who was having one of best games for the club. He made several surges in the first half to get his team on the go forward. He was well supported by prop Luke Sheridan. The game had developed into a stalemate on the scoreboard but Avoca Beach got closer and then moved ahead with two late penalty goals in the first half. In the 34th minute and then just before half time Matt Maloney kicked these two penalty goals for Avoca Beach to take the lead at the halftime break by 9 points to 7. At this stage of the game it was anybody’s match but it proved that Avoca Beach were not to be headed again in the match.
The second half continued in the much the same vein as what was observed in the first half. Kariong had long periods of possession but simply could not make the break through and get across the line. Wonderful dogged defence by Avoca Beach simply shut them out. The difference in the second half however was the very good performance of the Avoca Beach outside backs. Half Justin Staben and inside centre Dan Reihana were able to get the ball wide and the Avoca Beach outside backs proved dangerous every time they touched the ball. Both wingers Tom Murphy and Matt Maloney made incisive runs, and the pace of Jacob Briggs was always on show. Firstly a turnover of possession in the 10th minute of the half saw Avoca Beach five-eight Mitch Graham go to the blind before passing to winger Matt Maloney who raced to the line for a try. This try was converted by Maloney himself and Avoca Beach had moved to a handy 16 points to 7 lead. But Kariong were not to be outdone. They quickly responded with their second try. A forward surge by Kariong saw the ball go to the blindside and with the ball in the hands of fullback Derrick Peachey, he raced 20 metres across field to score near the posts. The conversion of this try saw the scoreline at Avoca Beach 16 Kariong 14 and the match was certainly on. Both teams had this stage played with spirit and commitment and both teams knew a Premiership was very close to be taken with still 20 minutes to go in the match. It was at this stage that Kariong could have taken the lead. Kariong five-eight Mitchell Clay made an excellent break before passing to his winger with the line open. But the dropped ball saw a wonderful chance go begging. From the 20th minute of this half for the next 5 minutes Kariong gave it their all to break through. They took a tighthead at the scrum, but several dropped balls and wrong options cost them in achieving their aim. But it was the determined Avoca Beach defence that was the telling factor. It was Avoca Beach who used all their experience at this stage. Having gained a penalty close to their own line, halfback Justin Staben showed quick thinking by taking an immediate tap and racing forward. The ball was passed to supporting fullback Jacob Briggs who showed exceptional pace and outshone the Kariong defence to race 65 metres to score near the corner. It was the turning point of the second half. Avoca Beach were now leading by 21 points to 14 in what was proving an exhilarating second half of Grand Final rugby. This try in the 28th minute of the second half had placed Avoca Beach in a good position. Kariong did hit back with some good play through loose forwards Afele Tongia and Sone Taito but there was to be no result on the scoreboard. Avoca Beach also made further inroads. Winger Tom Murphy was strong and made several telling runs during this period. The Grand Final was cemented in the final few minutes of the game when Avoca Beach prop Luke Sheridan made a big run and crashed over near the posts for the winning try. This try was converted and the final score of Avoca Beach 28 Kariong 14 was reached. It was typical Grand Final rugby with no holds barred. Both teams gave it their all but it was Avoca Beach who were the stronger on the day. Avoca Beach had won their 8th First Grade Premiership in the last 10 years. This is a remarkable achievement with this Grand Final also being their 11th successive First Grade Grand Final appearance.
Avoca Beach were able to also win the Second Grade Premiership when they defeated Ourimbah by 18 points to 16. This was a close tussle throughout and either team could have won this match. Avoca Beach led for much of the game but only led by 13 points to 10 at the halftime break. The scores were levelled at 13 all early in the second half however Avoca Beach did score two tries to one. It was certainly a very tight match throughout but Avoca Beach was able to hang on against a determined Ourimbah side to take out the Premiership.
Avoca Beach Third Grade confirmed their wonderful day for their club when they took out that Premiership. They were able to gain success in Third Grade when they defeated Northlakes by 11 points to 10. Avoca Beach had won the First, Second and Third Grades in an historic day for the club. Avoca Beach went to the halftime break in this match leading by 8 points to 3. However Northlakes scored a great try to five-eight Bill Moroney early in the second half to take the lead 10-8. However a field goal to Avoca Beach player/coach Ben Spindler close to fulltime saw Avoca Beach take the lead 11-10 and were able to hang on to win the Premiership.
Terrigal were able to gain success in the Under 19 Grand final when they won this Premiership by defeating The Entrance by 21 points to 8. Terrigal played excellent Grand Final rugby and were able to stop any attack that came from The Entrance. Terrigal led by 10 points to 3 at the halftime break and continued that good form into the second half. They dominated proceedings for much of the game and led by 21 points to 3 before The Entrance scored a consolation try on fulltime.
Source: Larry Thomson, CCRU President