Black and Whites defeat Waratahs in Group 20 first grade grand final

In a year where so many of the sporting competitions were won by sides who had endured struggles over the past decade, the story was no different in Group 20.

It started with the Phantoms from Leeton taking out their first Southern Inland Rugby title in 26 years and ended with the Leeton Whitton Crows bring the flag back to town for the first time in 39 years.

In between those two great stories is the story of the Griffith Black and Whites who have lifted themselves from the brink of folding to take out the 2017 Group 20 Premiership.

After battling through tough times three years ago, the Griffith Black and Whites have reason to celebrate after taking out the first-grade title.

In a dominant second-half display, they were able to score four unanswered tries to defeat local rivals Waratahs 28-10.

Coach Craig Morriss was understandably pleased with his side’s effort in the second half.

“Three years of hard work have come to a point pretty quick today, and we stumped up,” he said.

“We gave away too many balls and too many penalties in our first 20-30 minutes, and we paid for it.

“But we knew if we could cut the penalties out and keep coming we could be steamrolling, and we did.”

They went into the halftime trailing 10-6 after Jonathon Sila, and Ben Vitucci scored for the Waratahs while Kodie Charles was the lone scorer for the Panthers, and Morriss gave a very simple message to his side at the break.

“I said we are beating ourselves half the time,” he said.

“I told them we had to buckle up and stop the penalties, and just keep rolling forward, play smart.

The halves took control, and Kodie and the forwards started punching holes in the middle, and we just rolled off the back of that.

“We made good football decisions at the end which is what we want and what we train for.”

Second half tries to Tom Caqusau, and Andrew Lavaka, as well as a double from Mosese Butukoro, saw them put their coaches words into action and come away with an 18-point win.

Morriss said a lot of the win came down to the culture at the club which has been instilled during the tough times experience a few years ago.

“They do what they do every week, they stick it down for each other,” he said.

“When they are down or when things aren't going their way they just stump up, they just keep stumping up, playing for each other.

“The club was down and out three years ago, so we came into the culture and threw out the word club and put in family, put in belief, and they played on the back of that.”

After a standout performance in the middle Kodie Charles picked up the man of the match award.