Carnival's dream run comes up short against the Gold Coast

AFTER a week in which they had comfortably beaten all other opponents, Ipswich's dream run at the Zone 4 under-12 rugby league carnival came to an end yesterday.

Ipswich fell agonisingly short in their final match against Gold Coast, losing 6-4 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Ipswich took a 4-0 lead when winger Stephen Augustine finished a flowing team try, in which Ipswich stretched the Gold Coast defence from one-sideline to the other.

For 42 of the 50 minutes it looked like Ipswich would make it a victorious home title.

But a repeat set of six conceded from a knocked-down pass gave Gold Coast the possession they needed to scramble over for a try.

The kick was converted and even though Ipswich dominated the final minutes it was the visitors who claimed the title.

Ipswich coach Alex Busuttil was both devastated by the loss and immensely proud of his team at the conclusion of the tournament.

"We just missed scoring right on full-time," he said.

"It would have been a ripper of a way to finish it.

"The boys worked so hard.

"It was all us right through until the 40th minute when they scored. Then it was us all the way until the end.

"They just got the bounce of the ball. That's football."

The coach maintained a balanced enough perspective to recognise that while they may have lost the game, the Ipswich players took a valuable lesson.

"I told them to go out the gate and concentrate on club footy now," Busuttil said. "Hopefully they've learnt stuff over the past two years we've had them."

Ipswich's form throughout the tournament was recognised with captain Tui Gregory named Best Forward and Joel Brett Best Back, despite playing much of the tournament injured.

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