Electrifying finals boost hopes of Super 8s returning
AFTER five weeks of fury, the Super 8 men's and women's champions were crowned on a night of electrifying touch football.
Almost appearing like it had been scripted, the two top sides in each division after the pool matches qualified for their grand finals, but not before overcoming spirited opposition in the semi-finals.
In the men's division, the Saints from Toowoomba had to dig deep to overcome a determined O'Doyle 11-8.
Cobras, from Brisbane, made it through to the decider with a hard-fought victory over Eddie's Wolf Pack 10-7.
In what is touch football's equivalent to the NRL's golden point rule, the men's final was decided in extra time during the second period of the drop-off. After each period of two minutes, a team must drop one player to the interchange box until three players remain in the field of play.
At the end of regulation time, the scores were locked at seven apiece. During the drop-off, the Saints scored first to win 8-7.
In their only other encounter in the pool matches, the Saints and Cobras endured a six-all draw. The Saints will have their name engraved on the Scott Notley Shield.
"It's not surprising that this game came down to the wire, not with the calibre of player on both sides,'' former national player Notley said, after awarding the victors their spoils.
Michael Baartz, from the Saints, was named the men's player of the grand final.
Baartz will travel to Coffs Harbour as a member of the Queensland Chiefs Elite 8 team.
In the women's division, the two stand-out teams in the competition squared off in the decider.
In the semi-finals, Cobras defeated Meerkats 8-3 while Swans had to overcome the Grommets 7-5 to set up their place in the Super 8s Cup grand final.
In a tight match, the Kelly Woods coached Swans edged past the Cobras 4-3 to take the maiden Super 8 women's title.
Coincidently, the Swans were awarded the Kelly Woods Shield.
Swans player Lauren Potter was also deemed to be best-on-field during the final. Potter has two weeks to recover from a foot injury sustained in the match before taking her place in the South West Queensland Swans T-League team at the NTLs.
"This has been an ideal preparation for the NTLs. It's been fun. We'll be back,'' Woods said.
Event organisers Toni Notley, Melita Creedy, Matt Hines and members of the Ipswich Touch Football Association executive hope the tournament will be a fixture and premier event in the lead-up to annual NTL and Elite 8 tournament.
"The names Woods and Notley are synonymous with touch football in Australia," said ITA executive member Dale O'Connell.
"It's thrilling for young players to receive their trophies from legends of our sport. We certainly hope that the Super 8 competition will become an annual contest on Queensland's touch footballing calendar."
The ITA turns it focus to their regular season fixtures.
While the mixed season has already started, the women's and men's divisions will get under way on March 14 and 16 respectively.
Visit ipswichtouch.com for details.
State of Play
- Super 8 Women's semi-finals: Cobras 8 d Meerkats 3; Swans 7 d Grommets 5. Grand final: Swans 4 d Cobras 3.
- Super 8 Men's semi-finals: Cobras 10 d Eddies Wolf Pack 7; Saints 11 d O'Doyle 8.
- Grand final: Saints 8 d Cobras 7.