Walgett and Griffith teams provide some fiery action

Coedi Towney was outstanding in Griffith 3 Ways United s win over Walgett on Sunday but he could not prevent his side losing later in the day. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVANNEITHER the Walgett Aboriginal Connection (WAC) or the Griffith 3 Ways United survived the day on Sunday but there is no doubt the two sides clashed in one of the matches of the carnival.
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The 2015 Koori Knockout had already delivered a number of thrilling matches up until Sunday but it exploded into life shortly after 1pm when Griffith 3 Ways dumped hosts and defending premiers Walgett Aboriginal Connection (WAC) out of the competition.

Walgett’s George Rose was one of three players sin-binned in the fiery clash which led to WAC skipper Matt Rose saying the referee had the biggest influence on the match.

While the defending champs were shattered after the result it was sheer jubilation among the Griffith players after the 28-20 win but they could not carry it on to the next round in which they lost against the Newcastle Yowies.

“We’ve got the belief and we’re not looking too far ahead,” Cronulla Sharks star Andrew Fifita said after the win over Walgett.

“It was good to knock out the reigning champs but the job is not done yet.

Griffith fullback Coedi Towney was electric all match and his double inside 10 minutes had helped set up and early 10-nil lead.

A number of scuffles, swinging arms and even punches had been seen in that time and three minutes later Griffith were in again when Anthony Louie leaped brilliantly for a bomb and brought it down to score.

Ben Jefferies’ conversion made it 16-0 before a player from each side was sin-binned when things escalated again.

WAC finally got some ball and capitalised immediately with Stephen Lane darting over from dummy half to score and right on half-time they crossed again when winger Corey Ashby benefited from a perfect crossfield kick from Peter Ellis.

WAC had all the momentum going into the second half but five minutes in David Fifita went on a brilliant barnstorming run for 40m and found Dubbo CYMS winger Kieran Shipp in support who crossed and delighted the huge crowd on hand with one of his trademark somersaults.

The match was virtually won five minutes later when Louie got his second and while WAC threatened to comeback by scoring two late tries it was not enough, with Rose’s late sin-binning for a high shot rubbing salt into the wounds.

“It’s very frustrating and I felt the ref didn’t let it go,” WAC skipper Matt Rose said after the match.

“He kept getting involved and didn’t let us play natural football.

“There’s always hard hits and all that’s part of Knockout football but he probably, in the end, had an influence over the result.”

The opinion could not have been more different in the Griffith camp.

Fifita admitted the refereeing was vastly different to the NRL but said he was pleased with the official’s performance.

“When you’ve got good refs like that it comes down to basics and I think that’s what it was all about,” he said.

“I thought he really reffed it and if that was NRL everyone would have been sent off but he reffed it really well.”

GRIFFITH 3 WAYS UNITED 28 (Coedi Towney 2, Anthony Louie 2, Kieren Shipp tries; Ben Jefferies 4 goals) defeated WALGETT ABORIGINAL CONNECTION 20 (Stephen Lane, Corey Ashby, Josh Toole, Peter Jensen tries; Trent Rose 2 goals)

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