Biggenden live to fight another week
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Biggenden Warriors have kept their premiership hopes alive, bringing an end to the Eidsvold Eagles' season with a 34-14 win in Saturday's elimination final at Archer Park, Mundubbera.
It was a gutsy effort from an understrength Eidsvold outfit, but with only nine men the mountain was too much to climb.
An inspired performance from five-eighth Tyler West, who set up one try and scored another, kept the Eagles in the contest until an injury to centre Jefferson Skinner brought an end to the game with 21 minutes left to play.
QRL rules state a team must have a minimum of nine players on the field and Eidsvold could not continue.
Biggenden number six Dawson Cross led his side from the front with two tries.
He sliced through the Eidsvold defence in the 58th minute for his second to restore the 20-point buffer and put the game to bed.
Warriors winger Jai Flett also bagged a double, scoring both from well inside his own half, including a scintillating 90-metre solo-effort from a kick return.
Despite the result, Eidsvold never stopped competing and the play of the day came from Eagles winger Lindsay Collins.
When Warriors hooker Jesse George took an intercept mid-way through the first half, he looked certain to race away and score untouched.
But Collins chased the length of the field, pulling him down just short to deny Biggenden with one of the try-savers of the year.
It perfectly summed up the never-say-die attitude that has underpinned a season Eidsvold would like to forget.
Eidsvold's skipper West said the club was like family to him, and they kept turning up for the love of the game.
"I'm very proud of my boys,” West said.
"It's hard to man up when we're trying to play two positions at once.
"We stuck together, played for each other and gave them a really good go.
"It's a major loss without the Tongans but with or without them we still wanted to play.
"I know a lot of the older boys don't like seeing the club down, so I hope they will want to come back and play now.”
Biggenden did themselves no favours at times, with an ill-disciplined, error-riddled performance.
By their own admission, their defence will need to be better if they're to avoid embarrassment against Mundubbera in next week's knock out semi-final.
In a frank post-game interview, Warriors captain Jack George said his team didn't deserve to win
"Eidsvold stuck it to us and we knew we were in for a tough game,” George said.
"We didn't play the best, we took them too easy - way too easy.
"It doesn't matter how many they've got you have to respect the opposition and we didn't respect Eidsvold at all.
"They gave it to us and deserved to win actually.
"If we tackle like that next week we're going to get beaten 100 to zip.
"We've got to fix our defence up, if we don't it's going to be a whitewash.”
Biggenden return to Archer Park next Saturday for a must-win clash with the Tigers, which will determine who will take on Gayndah in the grand final.
Biggenden Warriors 34 (J Flett 2, D Cross 2, D Forrest, Z Ratcliff tries; 5/6 goals) defeated the Eidsvold Eagles 14 (L Lee, P Williams, T West tries; T West 1/3 goals) at Archer Park, Mundubbera.
Half-Time: Biggenden 24-8