Valleys embarrassed by Gremlins
Rugby League: The Stanthorpe Gremlins took the on-field honours on Saturday when they overwhelmed a less-than-capable Valleys Roosters outfit 80-nil in the feature match at Sullivan Oval, on a weekend of celebrations of 100 years of Stanthorpe rugby league.
The Gremlins home base was bulging with what was described as a huge home crowd in anticipation of a hotly contested encounter, given the Toowoomba Rugby League Clive Berghofer second-division finals series was just a fortnight away.
As the Gremlins ran on in front of their loyal supporters, through a guard of honour consisting of past players who wore the Stanthorpe Rugby League Club colours, it was with considerable disappointment they faced up to a Valleys outfit of just nine players.
Regardless, the game was under way, with Stanthorpe players unleashing on their less-than-challenging opponents 100 years after the "the greatest game of all” was first played on the Granite Belt.
Skipper Gary Skimmings and his team of renown adjusted to the situation, determined the match would be a highlight of the league century celebrations and would be memorable for players and supporters, many of whom had come significant distances.
Star back Lachlan Hendry crossed for the first points of the game soon after kick-off to see Stanthorpe ease ahead 6-0.
By the 20-minute mark the home side Gremlins were ahead 36-0 on their way to a 48-0 half-time advantage that came from a tally of eight unanswered tries.
The second stanza saw the Valleys line-up bolstered with some local talent but the Gremlins, with 100 years of tradition driving them, crossed for another five second-half tries, with four-try hero Michael Marini snatching the final four-pointer before the full time whistle.
While the result saw the Gremlins firm in fourth place on the ladder with just a game to go before the finals series, it was anything but the challenging hit-out needed heading into next week's final fixture round against the Goondiwindi Boars on their Gilbert Oval turf.
Skimmings is expecting a tough contest with third-on-the-ladder Boars but regardless of next weekend's round 18 outcomes the premiership ladder won't change, with undefeated leaders Newtown (18) followed by Gatton (14), Goondiwindi (11), Stanthorpe (9) and Texas (7), who have drawn a last-round bye.
The Gremlins line-up for the western excursion remains intact but for the unavailability of experienced five-eighth Jarrod Irwin.
The Gremlins fell just short of Goondiwindi back in their round-seven clash at Sullivan Oval 20-18 but they have the line-up to make amends on Saturday.
The Gremlins v Goondiwindi game will be part of a gala super Saturday of rugby league at Gilbert Oval, commencing with Wattles Junior Rugby League Club up against Goondiwindi juniors in Warwick and District Junior Rugby League fixtures, followed by the Wattles senior club taking on the Boars seniors in the final TRL fixture round of 2019.