Picton Magpies are the toast of the Group Six Rugby League, after a thrilling and dramatic 24-22 win over the Mittagong Lions in the First Grade Grand Final on Sunday.
The Magpies managed to secure the victory over the Lions, but had to work for the full 80 minutes to claim the Premiership trophy. Picton had control of the game on the scoreboard, but had to wrestle control on the field from the determined Mittagong side, who never conceded the game to their opponents.
The Magpies led 12-6 at the break, with neither side giving any ground in defence, with some big hits being dished out by forwards from both packs.
Kiel Shepherd was sin binned just before halftime, but the Magpies pack steeled themselves for the 10 minute period without their front rower, and ensured it wasn’t detrimental to the team.
A no try ruling against Picton fullback Michael Lett in the second half drew much questioning across the large Picton crowd. Picton spectators believed the try should have been awarded, but a penalty for a double movement was given against Lett.
Regardless, Picton led 24-12 well into the second half before a late Mittagong comeback saw two quick tries take the score to 24-22. Mittagong fullback Ben Baker missed a relatively simple conversion attempt which would have tied the scores with around two minutes remaining.
Picton managed to last the final moments of the match, and celebrated a fifth victory for Coach Gary Dowse. Dowse spoke after the game, and said the whole team effort was impressive on Sunday, without singling out a specific player for special praise.
Picton’s Halfback Tim Dengate was given the Man of the Match award, but Dowse agreed Alex Peters, Bryce Poisel, Michael Lett, and Chris Young were also impressive in their win.
For Mittagong, Scott and Ryan Borg caused problems all afternoon, while Robbie Payne and Warwick Carter made strong metres throughout the game, and Baker was also impressive from fullback.
Storm clouds brewed as the National Anthem was performed by Missy Lancaster before the start of the Bargo Sports Club First Grade Grand Final in front of the record size crowd.
Under 18-2's – Picton Magpies 10 Appin Dogs 20
Under 18-1's – Mittagong Lions 24 Camden Rams 30
Second Division – Warragamba Wombats 4 Robertson Spuddies 8
Reserve Grade – Oakdale Workers 35 Mittagong Lions 16
First Grade – Mittagong Lions 22 Picton Magpies 24