Gunnedah has secured itself two spots in the Central North Rugby Union final series after the minor season came to a close on Saturday.
The Red Devils first grade men have held on to second spot on the CNRU ladder after a thrilling 17-15 homeground win against Narrabri.
Similarly, the Red Devils women also retained the number two spot, however, were unable to topple the top spot Blue Boars. Narrabri triumphed 33-24.
After a gruelling yet successful season so far, the Red Devils will have a weekend of rest before contesting the major semi finals in Tamworth on September 2.
In his debut of first grade rugby, 18-year-old Carter McIlveen earnt his place in the squad in Saturday’s clash when he caught the ball out wide and outpaced his opposing winger to score 14 minutes into the game.
Gunnedah capitalised on this momentum and full-back Emori Waqavulagi crossed the line two minutes later, however, this conversion was also unsuccessful.
The game then shifted in Narrabri’s favour with Narrabri scoring but missing the conversion. Gunnedah were able to hold the score to enter half time with a score of 10-5.
The second half continued in Narrabri’s favour with the Blue Boars scoring two consecutive tries with both conversions unsuccessful, putting Narrabri in the lead 15-10.
Veteran hooker Matthew Hannay came off the bench and gave the Red Devils the lift they needed.
Second rower Tim McDermott also made a significant impact winning a Narrabri lineout in the Narrabri end, as well as several other Narrabri lineouts in the crucial last 20 minutes of the game.
Gunnedah forwards began to dominate the Narrabri scrum and put pressure on the Narrabri defence.
Making the most of Narrabri’s unstructured defence, Waqavulagi stepped through opposition to take the score to 15 all.
Gunnedah’s centre Cameron Mitchell became the winning difference when he converted the try in front of the rapturous home crowd and took the score to 17-15.
Knowing they had a losing bonus point secured and had locked in their place in the minor semi final, Narrabri finished the game by kicking the ball out shortly after full time.
Narrabri and Quirindi finished the season with equal points, however, Narrabri had won more games during the year and therefore progressed to the minor semi final to be played in Moree on Saturday.
Gunnedah will play Tamworth Pirates at Ken Chillingworth Oval in Tamworth on September 2. The winner will host the grand final on September 16.To order photos from this page click here