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Redbacks Grand Final victory
Rugby League sporting legend, Artie Beetson with the triumphant Redbacks who are Premiership winners for the 2001 season
'It was a great day for Rugby League' echoed the sentiments of so many on Grand Final day. The resurgence of Country Rugby League is by no means accidental. It has been a combined initiative of Murdi Paaki, New South Wales Rugby League and New South Wales Sports and recreation who are responsible for a Rugby League season which far exceeded their expectations'.
As Spider Brown Oval exploded, the grand Final Spectacular crossed live to Ray Hadley's talking League Program. It was exhilarating for players and supporters to know they had sporting great , Arthur Beetson amongst them.
For 'Artie' who had never visited the 'Ridge before, "it was almost like coming home", as his dad was born at Brewarrinna. 'This is country league at its best," he said.
'This is where it all starts, where champions are discovered' voiced David Moffett, NSW Rugby Leagues' CEO. Mr. Moffett is part of a group touring the country to promote Rugby League. Murdi Paaki and NSW Sports and recreation were invited to participate in what is expected to be a two year program to further encourage Rugby League in the Barwon Darling.
By funding teams in this sector the success of the season was assured.
David Moffett commended the efforts of X Manly representative player, Ron Gibbs, for his contribution to Country Rugby League.
The alcohol free grounds made it a safe haven for families, an event to which they would want to return and as the celebrations continued into the night that mood appeared to be retained.
Rugby League Grand Final Day by Drop Kick.
The day began with the under 14's, between Brewarrina and the Walgett Dragons. In a very physical encounter these two sides were the best in this age group all season and from the performance that these boys showed they are true champions to come. With the score see sawing from one side to the other it went right down to the wire, with the Brewarrina boys taking the title after a half time talking to by big guy Gibbs; well done boys , you deserve your win; final score Brewarrina 30 defeated Walgett 28; man of the match went to Brewarrina's, Rowan Archer.
The womens game was next and from the outset this was going to be a fiery one between the Goodooga Magpies and Brewarrina Black Swans.
The Swans held a slender lead at half time but with the spirit in the Magpies camp they rallied together to make a comeback and take the title, with a couple of tries to Jenel Lamb and the go forward power of Karen Lane was the key to their victory; final score Magpies 22 defeated the Black Swans 10. The Player of the day went to Goodooga's Cassie Skuthorpe, so once again congratulations girls and we hope this concept of the game continues next season. Just Before I start with the A grade, I want to send a thank you to all clubs and their spectators for a marvellous day, and also to big Arthur Beetson, David Moffet and David Liddiard for their attendance and to Murdi Paaki Regional Council and Sport and Recreation for their ongoing support all year.
And now, the first grade game; what a game, very physical and sometimes a very niggling one, but played in the old fashioned way' extremely hard. It was never going to be a walk in the park for the Redbacks, the Walgett Dragons have been the form side to beat, according to so many experts, but unfortunately they did not bank on a reformed Ridge side boosted by so many talented players, and once we all got together it was not a hard job to fin a starting thirteen. From fullback to the front row they are a great side, and we had just as good a side on the bench and it was never a concern to put any one of these blokes on the paddock at any stage of the game.
The leadership from Norm Walford was tremendous from start to finish and earned the respect from everyone who watched the final.
The Redbacks got off to a flyer with tries to Troy Ward, Anthony McBride and Arthur Murray, Mr 80 minutes, Shane Watts. Norm had a great day with the boot as well to hold a half time lead of 22-4. The mood in the rooms at half time was a mild one; the boys know you don't win a Grand Final on one half of the football.
They knew the tactics coming from the Walgett boys wouldn't allow them to have it so easy out there in the middle, but once again the forwards paved the way for the Redbacks to secure their second premiership, lead up front by Rednuts Duncan and Gibble Rutley it allowed the classy backline to fire with the likes of Andy Wise, Seato, Macka and the little green general to weave his magic. The support this side has, reminded me of the '92 side. All of you spectators who follow this great side I hope you continue to do the same in 2002. I cannot name one or two outstanding players because we have 25 champions.
After a hard fought second dig the Redbacks came away with the title, taking it 34-10; the player of the day awarded by Sport and Rec was our little master, Norm Walford; well done champ. Alfie Seaton awarded Rednuts his man of the match. But to everyone associated with this team, congratulations and I hope we can keep it together for next season.
Also I will be in contact with each player about our presentation; mentioning presentations, thank you goes out to Tony Nagy for his dedication to Ella; I know she'd be as proud as I am of our Redbacks.
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