The Avondale Tigers celebrate the teams win over Gin Gin in the Northern Districts Rugby League grand final.
The Avondale Tigers celebrate the teams win over Gin Gin in the Northern Districts Rugby League grand final. Shane Jones

TIGERS ROAR AGAIN: Avondale wins title

LEAGUE: It didn't come easy but Avondale remain the best.

The Tigers are premiers in the Northern Districts Rugby League again, after beating Gin Gin 54-16 in the final at South Kolan on Sunday.

The side scored the last 44 points to complete a cracking season.

The Tigers not only took out the premiership but they also won the minor premiership, the mid-year cup and were unbeaten all season.

But for 35 minutes it didn't look like the fairytale ending.

 

CELEBRATE: Avondale Players were all smiles after winning the NDRL grand final over Gin Gin.
CELEBRATE: Avondale Players were all smiles after winning the NDRL grand final over Gin Gin. Mike Knott BUN030917NDRL14

Gin Gin came back from 10-0 down early to score 16 straight points and lead towards the end of the first half.

Avondale then scored two tries late to lead 20-16 at half time. From there, they would not be caught.

"We knew they were going to come out firing," Avondale player-coach Luke Owen said.

 

Avondale's Luke Owen with the Northern Districts Rugby League premiership trophy.
Avondale's Luke Owen with the Northern Districts Rugby League premiership trophy. Shane Jones

"We knew if we weathered the storm, which we did and put a couple of late tries on we knew we could come home in the second half."

It worked to perfection as Tigers players Iosefo Katirewa and Matt Ross both scored a hat-trick.

"We played 60 minutes of good football out there," Owen said.

"It's been a long season and its a good reward for the effort they put in."

Owen said everyone stood up as well especially fullback Nathan Leather, named man of the match.

"He was tremendous," Owen said.

 

NDRL FINAL: Gin Gins Mathew card tackles Avondales Sam Kuhnel.
NDRL FINAL: Gin Gins Mathew card tackles Avondales Sam Kuhnel. Mike Knott BUN030917NDRL11

"He had an ankle injury six to seven weeks ago and we didn't know if he would get up for the finals," he revealed.

"He was also playing full back which was an unfamiliar position for him so he did really well.

"I couldn't really single out one bloke that was better than the rest."

The victory finishes two massive seasons for Avondale after Owen and Tigers president Herb Lutz signed a deal in 2015 to bring the good times back.

"If I sat there two years and said 'you'll be back to back premiers and undefeated this year I'd take it every day of the week,'" he said.

"I've loved every minute of being out here and (Herb's) done a tremendous job."

Gin Gin coach Ben Kuskey was disappointed to lose but said Avondale was too good.

In the Merv Slean Cup, Burnett Heads defeated Northern Force 46-24.



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