Harlequin claim Dewar Shield final

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Harlequin has won its fourth premiership in eight years with a convincing 38-20 grand final win over Melbourne Unicorns.

The best team in the competition all season was caught in an early arm wrestle with its closest rivals, but ultimately ran over the top of the Unicorns on the way to a perfect season.

Clearly the pressure didn’t affect Harlequin, with the 18-point victory shading their 33-25, 38-24 and 31-24 wins over Melbourne throughout the season, and affirming their standing at the top of the competition.

Unicorns coach Tumai Edwards said in the lead-up that his side couldn't afford to find themselves chasing the game, but that's exactly what happened as they found themselves on the back foot.

It was a scoring blitz in the lead-in to the break that gave Harlequin their biggest lead of the match, a 26-3 advantage after 40 minutes, handing Melbourne a mammoth mountain to climb in the second half.


Melbourne didn’t give up, piling on the points straight after the break to narrow the margin to just 13 points.

The sides traded five-pointers after that and a superb intercept try from Unicorns gave them a major sniff, and some handy momentum as full-time loomed.

Harlequin, though, found another gear as they have all year to hold off the fast finishing Unicorns and complete an unblemished 2017.

The championship victory puts Harlequin on level-pegging with Unicorns in premierships in recent years, with the teams sharing four each in the past nine years.

RESULT

Harlequin 38

Unicorns 20