Group 20 rugby league
WEST Wyalong has claimed the reserve grade Tony Blunt Cup after steamrolling arch rivals TLU in yesterday's grand final, winning 38-34.
The scoreboard didn't reflect the Mallee Men's dominance throughout the match, as they conceded three tries in the final 15 minutes.
West Wyalong coach Jason Wheatley admitted his men took their foot off the pedal before the hooter, but in his mind the fat lady had already sung.
"We had them for point scoring ability for the vast majority of the match," he said.
"It was a bit disappointing to let them come back in so well but it was just down to giving up too early."
The bulk of the first 40 minutes was spent in West Wyalong's attacking half, but the Sharks defended well and took the few chances they were given to keep themselves in the contest until half-time.
TLU's Corey Loftus and Dane Ridley threw the ball around with brilliant vision to put winger Dean Harris over the line in the 51st minute, striking first in the second half to level the scores at 16-16.
But the Mallee Men scored the next four tries, slamming the window shut on the match as a contest.
"We were nervous despite having been here a couple of times before," Wheatley said.
"We weren't running our moves properly, we were late and we were early but as we settled into the match we came good.
"Our big 100kg-plus men really knocked blokes around today, allowing plenty of room for our smaller men to chase out wide.
"In the end our forward pack was the main reason we won the game."
TLU came back with a flurry, scoring the final three tries of the game including the final one on the last second of the match but it was too little too late.
West Wyalong second-rower Sam Parkes, who was named best on ground, echoed his coach's explanation of the close scoreline.
"We got sloppy at the end because we got too excited and lazy," Parkes said.
"The win meant everything to me, it was just a great showing of West Wyalong pride."
West Wyalong............... 38