Group 20 rugby league
A PENALTY goal in extra time has secured Darlington Point-Coleambally a grand final berth at the expense of a despondent Yenda in a dramatic under 16s preliminary final yesterday.
A try by Yenda in extra time was disallowed for a forward pass and DPC quickly capitalised to seal the match with a penalty goal after an illegal strip directly in front of the sticks.
The coach of the Yenda side, Rod Hollands, said his team was gutted but praised his players for putting themselves in the running.
"We played well but every time we got ahead, they came straight back at us," Hollands said.
"The effort the boys showed to just miss out was outstanding and even though they're upset, I told them to keep their heads up because the match could have easily gone our way.
"I was proud of the way the side congratulated DPC straight after the penalty conversion and how they wished them all luck in the grand final before they thought about themselves."
DPC went in to half time two points up, with the scores at 14-12, but Yenda came out firing and crossed for the first two converted tries after the break.
The Roosters duly evened the ledger and then went six points up with 10 minutes to go, but Yenda wouldn't lie down and restored parity once more with two minutes of regular time remaining, taking the score to 30-30.
But despite their late heartbreak, Hollands said his side now has a unique opportunity to have another crack at the under 16s competition next year.
"We've got five 14-year-olds and six under 15s, so the bulk of the team will have another go at the under 16s competition again next year," he said.
DPC publicity officer Cameron Muir said the Roosters will take enormous confidence from the win, which sets them up for a grand final showdown with Leeton.
"It was a very nerve-wracking match, especially when we were 10 points down with 10 minutes to go, to then be six points up with two minutes to go before finishing the match all square," Muir said.
"One of strengths of the side was how they managed their emotions in such a close situation.
"The way they all kept their cool was why they were able to get over the line."
Yenda sensation Shorne Ngu lived up to his hype yet again by scoring four tries for the match.