Premier Grade Champions!
The University of Queensland have seized their fourth Hospital Cup in eight seasons, taking down the heavily-favored GPS Ashgrove club 23-14 in front of 6,623 supporters at Ballymore.
Two tries to lock Pat Morrey and an impressive goal kicking display from flyhalf James Dalgleish might steal the headlines, but the 80-minute toil of all 13 forwards in the match-day squad deserve the highest praise.
Written off by many, the University of Queensland Red Heavies stood tall and proved that their sacrifices throughout the year had been worth it to raise the Hospital Cup again.
As the XXXX Hill descended upon their victorious Premier Grade team, there was barely a dry eye in sight amongst the playing group – most notably as captain and Tony Shaw medallist Jack de Guingand embraced long-time trainers Catriona and Heather Arthy.
De Guingand said: “I want to thank all the coaches and our families and trainers, and supporters like the Heavies on the Hill, for coming out and supporting us as we made our dreams come true.
“There was a fire which burnt through us all year and I’m so happy that we’ve finished what we started.”
“[The Grand Final] was the hardest game of the season. We were there last year and we know how much it hurts, you wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody, so I know GPS will use this to come back and bigger and better next year.”
GPS began the match as many expected, forcing an early penalty through their forwards that would prove easy pickings for the kicking boot of centre AJ Alatimu.
University firmed in their defence as a surging GPS outfit were repelled again and again.
Queensland Reds winger Chris Kuridrani broke the deadlock in the 15th minute from a set piece move, setting in motion a pick and drive try to flanker Waita Setu.
The Heavies showed their clinical fighting spirit by punishing an unforced GPS error to score through lock Pat Morrey to tighten scores at 8-5 in the 20th minute.
A brilliant linebreak from James Dalgleish, linking with Nathan Russell before cutting to the outside to take a switch-pass to the house, carried the Red Heavies into the lead for the first time in the 32nd minute.
Jeeps’ ill-discipline gifted James Dalgleish more points as a simple penalty goal directly in front in the 35th minute extended the Heavies’ lead to 13-8.
A scuffle between Samo and Pat Morrey sent the GPS’ enforcer to the bin as the half-time siren sounded.
Both sides traded penalties early in the second half before a raking kick in behind the University line set loose a foot-race between Gareth Kalell and James Tuttle for the line.
Interference from Kalell prevented the try, but incurred a yellow card for his role in doing so.
With a pep in their step, Jeeps ramped up their intensity and looked to take the match away from the Heavies.
A third penalty to Alatimu cut the lead to 16-14 with 20 minutes to play, sending the crowd to the edge of their seats.
Pat Morrey fought his way over for a second try from close range in the 70th minute and a successful conversion from Dalgleish would prove to be the clincher for a hotly contested 23-14 win.
University shut down any hope of a first GPS Premiership in 21 years with a remarkable defensive effort to close out the match.
University of Queensland 23 (Tries: Pat Morrey (2), James Dalgleish; Cons: James Dalgleish (2); Pens: James Dalgleish (3) defeated GPS Ashgrove 14 (Tries: Waita Setu; Pens: AJ Alatimu (3)