Yowies win Koori knockout: photos

Yowies win Koori knockout: photos

A YEAR after leaving the Hunter to again resurrect his NRL career, Albert Kelly returned as a star and shone to lift the Newcastle Yowies to back-to-back Koori Knockout titles in dramatic fashion on Monday.
Wuxi Plastic Surgery

With Yowies captain and dual international Timana Tahu on the sidelines injured, the Gold Coast Titans five-eighth stepped up and potted a field goal in the second minute of golden-point extra-time to defeat a gallant Mindaribba Warriors for a second straight year at Lakeside Sporting Complex at Raymond Terrace.

The heroics for a 17-16 win capped a stellar year for Kelly, who was sacked by Cronulla then the Knights for off-field indiscretions but revived his career at the Titans this year.

The 22-year-old, who played with Central Newcastle in 2012, played 21 games for Gold Coast, scoring 11 tries.

He said the win yesterday and the trip to visit family and friends was a great finish to his football for 2013.

“I’m not known for kicking field goals but I snuck that one in,’’ Kelly said.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve seen a lot of my mob, who I don’t get to see too often. It’s pretty much the only time you get to do it.’’

Tahu jarred his right knee celebrating the Yowies’ winning try, which he set up with a kick, in their comeback 26-24 semi-final win over La Perouse yesterday and watched on in the decider.

Despite his ’’bittersweet’’ moment in the semi, the Newcastle Knights centre was ecstatic with the win and Kelly’s starring role.

“He does it for the Titans, he’s just an unbelievable player,’’ Tahu said.

“That’s what he does, he comes up with the big plays. I love him to death.

“He’s come a long way from where he was at Cronulla. He was down in the dumps.

“When he came to Newcastle, my manager Warwick Wright and me just wanted to look after him. We just wanted to make him happy again.

“Now look at him. Look at what he’s done for his family and his community.’’

The winning drop-kick came after Mindaribba knocked on from the kick-off to spoil their fighting effort to come back from 16-4 down at half-time to draw level at 16-all.

The Yowies had assembled a crack side including NRL players Maurice Blair and Travis Waddell, former star Wes Patten, Knights reserve grade halfback Adrian Davis and NSW Country players Steve Gordon and Warren Schillings.

But the defending champions battled several injuries, especially in the backs, and Tahu was proud of the performance over the six-game, three-day challenge.

“That’s back-to-back, and not many teams can go back to back, so I’m happy. It was a great effort,’’ he said

’’There were 64 teams again. It’s a hard knockout.

’’Yesterday wasn’t a good day, it was three games just slogging it out.

’’But today, I felt good. I had a feeling we were going to win.’’’

Mindaribba, who had several Newcastle Rugby League first-graders, scored first in the grand final when Luke Dumas pounced on a Chad Solman kick in the ninth minute.

Young Canberra Raiders winger Branko Lee crossed for the Yowies in the 24th minute to make it 4-all. Cronulla under-20s winger Malcolm Congo touched down to make it 10-4 to the Yowies in the 37th before Waddell picked up a loose ball before kicking for fullback Alastair Faulkner to score a 70-metre try on half-time.

Josh Benjamin (49th) and Joby Patten (62nd) scored to bring the Warriors level before Davis missed a penalty and Mindaribba’s Chris Binge kicked a field goal attempt wide to set up golden point.

Mindaribba coach Ron Griffiths said his side were in control for the opening 15 minutes and parts of the second half but lacked the consistency against the class of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Yowies also won the women’s decider 24-16 over Kempsey United.

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Albert Kelly on field. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland

Action from on and off field at the Koori Knockout Cup at Lakeside sporting complex on Monday. Picture Ryan Osland