Gremlins falter in the heat
Rugby League: The Stanthorpe Gremlins start to the 2019 Toowoomba Rugby League season wasn't what they had hoped after crashing to arch rivals the Warwick Cowboys 28 - 8 on a sweltering Saturday afternoon at Father Ranger Oval in a second division pre-season trial.
The Gremlins verses Warwick encounter was among the five game 'Barrett Family Shield' pre-season trials that culminated in the Wattles Warriors, captained by Ballandean local Dale Perkins, handing out a 34 - 10 touch up to the Warwick Cowboys in the A Grade clash.
While the home side Cowboys were first to rattle the scoreboard against the Gremlins with a try by winger Dale Lee in the 14th minute, after a tough opening 30 minutes it was Stanthorpe that went to the half time break with an 8 - 4 lead.
Hooker Michael Marini scored all the Gremlins first half points coming from a try in the 24th minute and conversion, and a penalty goal in the final minute of the first half.
Alas the Gremlins never added to their total and the Cowboys lifted a couple of gears to win convincingly.
Cowboy's long striding back-rower Dion Gallaway got the scoreboard moving again minutes into the second stanza after fielding an overhead pass from halfback Aden Howard to score from ten metres out.
The Gallaway try was the beginning of a 22 point unanswered scoring sequence across the final 25 minutes that saw the Cowboys roll in four tries.
Winger Mitchell Washbourne crossed to score to increase the Warwick lead to 16 - 8, and while the Gremlins had their chances the Cowboys were gathering momentum.
Dale Lee pocketed his second four-pointer on the end of a 55 metre gallop before five-eight Brock Eastwell and halves partner Aden Howard also touched down for tries in the final ten minutes to seal a home side victory.
Gremlins skipper and lock forward Gary Skimmings was among his side's best in a strong alround performance.
"The heat played a significant roll in our loss” said Skimmings, "the fact we were down on numbers with some early injuries also took it's toll.”
Newcomer in Gremlins colours Will McPaul impressed in his first senior league match, while tough front-rower of note Nigel Bonetto showed he has the ability to shine at fullback.
Stanthorpe get the chance to even up with the Cowboys on Saturday March 23rd, again at Father Ranger Oval, in the first round of the 2019 & 100th Toowoomba Rugby League premiership.
Warwick 28 (Dale Lee 2, Dion Gallaway, Mitchell Washbourne, Brock Eastwell, Aden Howard tries; Dion Gallaway 2 goals)
defeated Stanthorpe 8 (Michael Marini try & 2 goals).