Nudgee claim 42nd GPS premiership in final round thriller

by Sam Phillips

The fast feet of superstar wingers Jangala Bennet and Trezman Banjo have stolen the show for Nudgee College as the Queensland GPS powerhouse claimed back-to-back 1st XV titles on Saturday with a 34-29 win over The Southport School.

It was fitting that Bennet scored the try which won the match as he lit up Ross Oval every time he got his hands on the ball and post match rookie coach Andrew Scotney labelled the star winger his side's player of the season.

With five minutes to play and the match precariously poised at 29-all a deft grubber from centre Joshua Flook set up a foot race to the line.

Bennet turned on the jet shoes, beat all the cover defence to the corner and dived on the football, sending Ross Oval into raptures.

The emotion ran high as just 10 minutes earlier, TSS looked certainties to run right over the top of the home side.

There were shades of Brisbane Grammar's 2012 comeback win over the men in blue and white butcher stripes in the last GPS "grand final".

Former Reds squad flyhalf Sam Greene starred for Grammar that day and Nudgee had no answers for his playmaking power but they re-wrote the script on Saturday to claim an undefeated premiership crown.

With the wind at their backs in the first half Nudgee flyhalf Reesjan Pasitoa controlled the match with some astute kicking.

Pasitoa's pack provided front foot ball aplenty and aided by a classy game from Flook Nudgee's back three - Bennet, Banjo and fullback Daniel Atkinson - ran riot.

Four first half tries set up a 24-0 lead at the break.

TSS had not fired a shot.

When play resumed tackle busting terror No. 8 Reno Gerrard put the team on his back to mount a remarkable comeback.

He nabbed a five pointer for his efforts but it was fullback Dion Samuela who scored the double which put his side back in the hunt.Jangala Bennett starred for Nudgee. Photo: Brody GroganWhen Crusaders recruit Campbell Parata slotted his second conversion of the afternoon from the sideline after Southport scored their fifth it was all square at 29-all.

Enter Flook, Bennet and the history of winning tight matches which has steered Nudgee to 42 total GPS 1st XV titles.

Five minutes later referee Angus Gardner blew his whistle for the final time and Southport boys fell to the turf as the stands emptied and schoolboys in blue and white invaded the field.

Emotions were raw but Scotney was composed post match.

He never doubted his boys despite the wobbles appearing to set in early in the second half.

"It was the same as last year's game," Scotney said.

"We were up 22-12 with 20 to go and got rolled.

"We just needed the ball.

"Once we got the ball we were always a big chance of scoring some points."

RESULT

Nudgee 34

TSS 29