Keebra Park Retains Alan Langer Trophy
Final Score: Keebra Park 36, Palm Beach State High School 4
Keebra Try Scorers: Mikaele- 2, Pakau, Dumas, Boyd, Lemuelu, Nelu
Goal Kicks: Boyd 4/7
The Keebra Park versus Palm Beach fixture is always the highlight of South Qld school sport with both sides having a proud tradition in the schoolboy rugby league and both sides having produced a large number of boys who have gone on the represent at regional, state, National and International level.
Those who have followed this history would have seen clashes between Ben Murdoch and Ryan James, Jordan Kahu and Jordan Rankin, and a host of Keebra boys on the paddock, playing in this very same encounter.
The game began at a frantic pace with each probing run and complete set met with equal determination until fullback Connelly Lemuelu managed to capitalise on a passage of prolonged Keebra pressure and force himself across the PBC line for the opening score.
Palm Beach did manage to equalise a few minutes later for their only points in the first half. After a bit of back and forth play, which featured a number of ball handling errors, Liam Pakau managed to crash over the line after the backline executed a set play, exposing the Palm Beach centre. This was shortly followed by a try to second rower Antonio Nelu, who ran a devastating line on the edge to grab Keebra park a growing lead, at 14-4. Straight from the kick-off following Nelu’s try, Keebra marched down the field once again, with Kelepi Lui making a break through the middle from inside his own half, skillfully handing the ball off to Damion Dumas, who finished under the posts just before the hooter went for halftime.
The start of the second half saw Palm Beach with a lot of ball. The Reds had seemingly managed to swing the momentum back in their favor, with a passage of play that saw them attack the Keebra line with six consecutive sets that were gifted to them in the first ever display of rope-a-dope on the football field. All schools work on set completion and set plays to control possession and it is no different at Keebra Park. Palm Beach’s possession came as a direct result of Keebra Park’s handling errors and intentional or not, saw the Keebra boys “on the ropes”. Keebra ducked and weaved and swung and swayed, a la the late great Mohammed Ali, and took all that the boys in Red could muster. The majority of the “blows” were absorbed by an urgent slide defense and numbers in the tackles, that deflected any power from the Palmy onslaught. Set after set, the Reds were out on their feet and by set 6, they had in effect “punched themselves out”. Keebra saw their opportunity, ducked under a flailing blow and gathered the ball to race up the field and deliver the knock out blow, in classic rope-a-dope fashion.
Two consecutive tries from Tom Mikaele brought about that knock out punch off the back of a few classic set plays, quickly followed by an individual effort by halfback Tanah Boyd, leaving the final score at Keebra Park 36 and Palm Beach Currumbin 4.
This win saw Keebra retain the coveted Alan Langer Trophy for the second year running and set up a GIO quarter final clash with Marsden State High School to come next term. Well done to the boys and thank you to the crowds that have come to support all teams throughout the season.