first_imgFORE THE PLAYER OF THE FINAL AND PLAYER OF THE SERIES AWARDS, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF EACH STORY It was finals day at the 2005 Asics National Touch League today and the hype around the grounds lifted from the early hour of 8:00am. The hype may have been attributed to the fact that two local Northern Eagles sides, the Womens Under 20’s and the Mens Under 20’s qualified for the semi finals in their divisions. The 2005 NTL has certainly produced some upsets, who would have thought that the Sydney Mets, Under 20 Mens 2004 Champions, would be knocked out in the quarter finals to play off for 7th position? Or that the Mens Open play off for 5th would see the Mets playing the Suns? Both highly fancied teams. Or that the North Queensland Cyclones Womens Open side, who dominated the round matches, would lose their quarter final and play off for 5th, losing star player Kelly McGennity to a serious knee injury? Or that the South Queensland Sharks Womens 20’s would score 42 touchdowns throughout the rounds before almost choking in their quarter final and scraping through against a spirited ACT side? Thankfully for Sharks’ fans, they’re through to the grand final. The competition has been strong and the semi finals and finals have produced some unbelievable Touch. WOMENS 20’s: Semi finals: In the Womens 20’s semi finals local hopes rested on the shoulders on the Northern Eagles girls who have been outstanding all week. The Eagles girls stuck with the Cobras, the scores locked at 2-2 with just 4 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Eagles, their tournament ended when the Cobras scored with just 3 minutes to go. In the other semi final, a rematch of the 2004 grand final between the Sharks and Suns, both boasting several Aussie representatives, the Sharks grabbed an early lead before the Suns hit back to make the score 2-1. Unfortunately for the Suns, they looked flat, maybe a little tired and were unable to match the speed of the Sharks, who claimed a 3-2 win and the second place in the Womens 20’s grand final. The Sharks will now face the Cobras and have the chance to defend their 2004 title. Grand final: The South Queensland Sharks defended their 2004 title in the Women’s 20s Years division in a stunning performance, beating the Brisbane City Cobras, 5-3. The Sharks started the game well, with Kristy Brennan scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes. After a touchdown to Sharks player, Clare Giarola, the Sharks were up 3-0 and things weren’t looking to good for the Cobras. The Cobras struck back with touchdowns from Tammi Holmes and Tallon McCarthy just before the half time siren to make the score 3-2. Alyce Hulbert came out firing for the Sharks in the second half, scoring a touchdown, followed by one to Player of the Final Melissa Tyack. A touchdown by Cobras player Ashleigh Hillier wasn’t enough to stop the Sharks who won the grand final 5-3. Player of Final- Melissa Tyack (Sharks) Player of Series- Jarah Jennings (ACT) MENS 20’s: Semi finals: The Southern Suns continued their determined march through the grand final, with a 5-1 win over the South Queensland Sharks. The Sharks were simply outclassed by the well-drilled Suns unit and the Suns will no doubt go into the grand final as firm favourites. The Suns should be well aware of their opposition however, and well aware that against them the match isn’t won until the siren sounds. The local Northern Eagles claimed the prize scalp of the Sydney Mets, 2004 defending champions, and then faced the Brisbane City Cobras in their semi final. The Cobras jumped to a 3-0 lead at half time, leaving people thinking, `what’s going on here? How’d they beat the Mets?’ But the Eagles kicked into gear in the second half, running in 5 touchdowns to zero. Their sheer speed and quick hands creating countless opportunities and bringing the crowd to life. Led by Ricky Morris, who created something literally every time he came on, the local boys will no doubt have large support when they face the Suns in this afternoon’s grand final. Grand final: The Mens 20’s grand final was one of the best witnessed for a long time. The local Northern Eagles had made history by making the grand final, but were clearly out for the win, scoring on the second Touch of the match and bringing the already loud crowd even more alive. The stadium was packed from the beginning of the finals and both sides didn’t disappoint, the Suns going into half time 4-2 ahead. The Northern Eagles have proven they like to come from behind during the tournament however and did it again in the first minute of the second half, with Reg Vale crossing to take the score to 4-3. Suns Captain Scott Naughton took it to 5-3 before the Eagle’s Aussie rep `hot stepping speed freak’ Ricky Morris stepped past three defenders and dived across the line to take it to 5-4. At 6-4 with 5 minutes to go it looked lost for the Eagles, with the Suns solid defense standing tall, but a backwards flick pass to David White brought the Eagles just one touchdown away from extra time. When a forward pass denied the Eagles the match equaling touchdown, it was the Suns match, scoring with just a few seconds remaining to take the grand final 7-5. Player of Final- Scott Naughton (Southern Suns) Player of the series- Ricky Morris (Northern Eagles) MIXED OPEN: Semis: The Sydney Mets will have the chance to defend their 2004 NTL title after beating the Sydney Scorpions 9-2 in their semi final. The Mets dominated their Sydney Rivals throughout the match. The grand final will be a thriller after the Mets had a tight win over the Sharks, 7-6 in the round matches. The boys from the Fishbowl predicted on Day One that the South Queensland Sharks were the team to beat so we’ll see how they go after beating Brisbane City Cobras, 3-1 in their semi-final. Grand final: The South Queensland Sharks had been tipped as the team to win the Mixed division, but the Sydney Mets were out to defend their 2004 title. Seemingly in control, the Sharks cruised to a 5-3 lead before Tony El Takchi led the Mets back into the game. El Takchi helped Megan Smee and Michelle Flewitt both cross the line to even the scores at 5-5 and take the match into an extra time drop off. El Takchi then crossed the line himself, after a Sharks mistake in the ruck left them stranded on their own scoreline. The final score 6-5, with the Sharks no doubt ruing simple mistake that cost them the title they had in control and the Mets 2005 back to back NTL Champions. Player of the Final- Tony El Takchi (Mets) and Megan Smee (Mets) Player of the Series- Riki Best (Sharks) Amy Fong (Sharks) WOMENS OPEN: Semi finals: The Womens 2004 Champions, the South Queensland Sharks, are out of the 2005 NTL race, after a strong performance by the Sydney Mets. The Sydney Mets, led by solid performances from Louise Winchester and also Amanda and Kristy Judd held the Sharks at bay 4-2. No doubt disappointed, the Sharks were expected to be title contenders again but will go home disappointed. In the second semi final the surprise came from the Barbarians, the WA and NT permit, who qualified for the semi after solid round and quarter final performances. The Barbarians have been on the rise lately, led by Aussie Womens Open star Bo Dela Cruz and will be a side to watch in the future. They managed to hold the Cobras for most of their semi final, before losing to the Brisbane side 6-5. Grand final: Sydney Mets have claimed the 2005 NTL Women’s Open title after beating Brisbane City Cobras 6-4 in what was a tight match. The Mets, led by Australian representative Louise Winchester cruised through the match displaying confidence in themselves and their teammates. The Judd sisters were on fire, both scoring touchdowns with Amanda also setting up two touchdowns for teammate Kate Baseley with her signature cut out ball. The Cobras fought hard throughout the game with Annabelle Pearce and Emma Law scoring two touchdowns each. The Cobra’s Rebecca Tavo was playing well until she went down injured early in the second half. The Sydney Mets were deserving winners after a tough finals run. Player of the Final- Louise Winchester (Mets) Player of the Series- Sharyn Williams (Sharks) MENS OPEN: Semi finals: The Mens Open finals were expected to be a tight affair…it didn’t eventuate though. The South Queensland Sharks gave the Brisbane City Cobras a shellacking, a 6-1 victory sending them into the grand final in top form. The other semi between the Queensland Country Rustlers and the Scorpions looked like it was a tight fought affair but in reality the score was actually 4-0. The Rustlers could not capitalize on their opportunities and dropped several passes, allowing the Scorpions through to the Mens Open grand final for the first time since 2000. Grand final: The Mens Open division at the 2005 Asics NTL was certainly one to remember. All week it was up and down, with close matches, draws and tough competition. The grand final could have seen any one of five or six Mens Open sides there, but it was the turn of the Sharks and the Scorpions. The Scorpions started well, with Scott Mitchell darting through a gap early in the first half. When the Sharks drew even Nathan Behrens responded for the Scorpions again before a great step and long pass from the Sharks’ Drummayne Dayberg saw them draw even again. The Sharks grabbed the lead just before half time and looked in control until the final eight minutes of the game. At 4-2 Anthony Ziade scored and brought the crowd to life, with the scent of a drop off in the air. Ben Robinson struck though, coming life in the minutes that mattered, striking back immediately to make the score 5-3. The Scorpions struck twice in two minutes however, with Adrian Tan diving over the line to equal the scores at 5-5. The crowd rose to their feet though, as with thirty seconds to go, player of the final Ben Robinson intercepted a Scorpions pass on their goal line to run the length of the field for the winning touchdown. Well done to all winning sides, thank you everyone for the great competition, sportsmanship and enthusiasm shown by all. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2006. Craig Pierce Medal for the Player of the Final- Ben Robinson (Sharks) Player of the Series- Drummayne Dayberg (Sharks) By Rachel Moyle, media@austouch.com.au and Lisa Plummerlast_img