ON THE first weekend of the school holidays, three under 12 Gremlins players travelled to Goondiwindi as members of the Warwick and District Mustangs Challenge team.
Leon Karena, Clayton Townsend and David Williams joined players from across the region in preparing for the carnival over a five week period.
The boys from Stanthorpe had some familiar company at the carnival with Stanthorpe Gremlins coach David Fleming, manager Michael Jensen, first aid volunteer Peter Burnell and trainer Jake Burnell overseeing the carnival.
"The Mustangs Challenge, which has been played for the last 20 years, aims to introduce the most talented boys in the district to competitive rugby league and is the first step in the development program in place for Warwick and District Rugby League,” Fleming said.
Spencer Jensen also joined the team refereeing at the carnival as did Jake Burnell.
In the first game the team played the South Burnett and ran out comfortable winners 30-6.
In the second match the team squared off against Roma and Districts and pulled away late in the match to win by 14 points.
In the last match on Saturday, the team played carnival heavyweights and favourites Toowoomba Sky.
In a tough, physical encounter the young Chargers out-played a much larger side to come from behind to win 16-10.
"Three wins from three games was a great start to the carnival but the boys needed to back up the next day,” Fleming said.
On Sunday, the first game was played against Toowoomba Royal and the Warwick and District team was blown off the park by the speed of the Toowoomba backs letting in three tries to nil to lose in a disappointing manner.
A quick 30 minute turn-around and the Warwick and District team backed up against Western Downs in a typically tough encounter.
With a win needed to ensure a finals birth, things weren't looking good with five minutes left on the clock and the score locked at nil all.
"A great team-try that was converted ensured a place in the final against Toowoomba Blue who had beaten us that morning,” Fleming said.
The grand final didn't disappoint producing a great game of rugby league that ebbed and flowed for the entirety of the match.
Desperate defence by both sides, a length of the field try and Warwick and District being held up just as the hooter sounded, this game had all supporters on the edge of their seats.
The final score saw Toowoomba run out winners 8-4.
Coach David Fleming congratulated Leon, Clayton and David on the way they played football and developed their skills in such a short time.
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