Young Yabbies slip at the final hurdle

The Young Yabbies men's side missed out on premiership glory
going down to Harden in the South West Oilsplus grand final
on Saturday. Photo: Young Yabbies/Facebook
The Young Yabbies men's side missed out on premiership glory going down to Harden in the South West Oilsplus grand final on Saturday. Photo: Young Yabbies/Facebook

The Yabbies have slipped at the final hurdle going down 27-13 to Harden Red Devils in the South West Oilsplus grand final on Saturday.

Played at Harden, the Yabbies trailed 12-3 at the break before conceding a further 15 points to 10 in the second half as Harden secured the premiership.

The Yabbies were the first team on attack getting within metres of scoring in the first few minutes, only to be held up over the line multiple times and ultimately denied points.

A relieving penalty and the Devils were able to turn the Yabbies around and marched back down the field.

Working hard in the forwards the Yabbiemen made metres again through Will Munday and Tom Kent. Harden took advantage of some uncharacteristic errors forcing a penalty which resulted in the first score of the afternoon after 17 minutes.

After the restart Harden once again were hot on attack.

But huge defence from Dan Parker and Hamish Kaveney made it very hard work for the Devils forwards to get momentum.

While in the midfield Ned Mullany and Michael Stallard kept the gain line pressure on the classy Harden backs.

Momentum swung back and forwards for most of the half but ultimately Harden controlled the majority of the possession. The Devils took advantage of this and scored again.

Off the restart the Yabbiemen regained the ball. Big carries by Jesh Smith and Jack Mullany put the Yabbies on to the front foot eventually forcing a penalty in front of the sticks.

Will Wennerbom stepped up and nailed the three points taking the score to 12-3 with 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Yabbies came out hard in the second half but it was Harden who controlled the ball, regularly swinging it to their backs.

Heavy contact from the Yabbies back three Brendan Shoard, Nick Schiller and Jack Mann kept their wide attack at bay.

The Red Devils scored first in the second half putting on two more tries midway through.

Remaining composed the Yabbiemen kept the pressure on forcing multiple penalties with Wennerbom again slotting another three points. The Yabbiemen remained solid in attack.

Big efforts from the loose trio Dan O'Connor, Dan Parker and Tom Kent put the Yabbies on the front foot, allowing Jake Chandler to slice through the tiring defence but was pulled down metres short of the goal line.

Through long phase play again the Yabbiemen built pressure on Harden, however using their bench to full effect the Devils were able to quash the Yabby attacking raids. Nevertheless it was Young that had the final say of 2020, applying pressure right up until the final minute when Will Wennerbom crashed over.

Head coach Ned Mullany said despite going down in the grand final I believe the season was a huge success.

"I was just happy the fact we got there, and we can hold our heads up high. The biggest success for me was playing with a bunch of blokes that went from being your team mates to your mates. I'd rather be in a losing team with these blokes then with any other team," he said.

"I'd also like to personally thank everyone that made the year so special the assistant coaches Toss and Willsy, Cec the president and his amazing executive team, the sponsors, all the behind the scenes guys (particularly physios and strappers), the old boys but most of all the town of Young. The support this season and in particular the week leading up to the final was overwhelming. We've learnt a lot about ourselves as a club and will be back next year."

Yabbies five-eighth Will Wennerbom in his first season playing with the Yabbies recorded the most points for any player in the competition.