The South Tweed Koalas Under 19 players and coaching staff celebrate their grand final victory. The win ended the club's difficult season on a high note.
The South Tweed Koalas Under 19 players and coaching staff celebrate their grand final victory. The win ended the club's difficult season on a high note. Submitted

Bright future

THE old cliché of “one win doesn't make a season” may be true, but the South Tweed Under 19s have turned that old adage on it's head.

Last Sunday, the team defeated Bilambil in the grand final of the Gold Coast Rugby League Under 19 competition in emphatic style, winning 34-6.

Now that heads are clearing after the post match celebrations, the true impact of the win for the club is starting to sink in.

South Tweed made a decision in 2008 to leave the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition and head across the border to play on the Gold Coast.

It wasn't all smooth sailing.

The club showed plenty of resolve to stand by their decision, despite pressure on them from the NRRRL and the Country Rugby League to stay put.

Things didn't get any better for the Koalas when they had to forfeit playing A grade this season due to player numbers, causing major disruptions in the Gold Coast competition and raising questions about the viability of the club.

Resigned to the fact that South Tweed would only field reserve and Under 19s sides, the club persevered. It proved to be a great decision, culminating in a memor- able premiership last Sunday at Pizzey Park.

For Under 19 coach Damian Towell, it was a fitting reward for a dedicated group of people, but importantly, it was a significant step forward for South Tweed.

“I had a feeling beforehand that the day would be special,” Towell said. “Our preparation had been good all week and I knew it was important to keep the boys grounded and focused on the task at hand.

“I was a bit surprised in the nature of the win, but I was extremely pleased for the players at the end.

“It was a relief for them and everyone connected with South Tweed after the start to the year that we had.”

Towell said the win was vital to the viability of South Tweed and it would provide inspiration for the huge number of juniors which the club boasts.

As one of the biggest junior rugby league clubs in the country, Towell believed that seeing the Under 19s go all the way would give younger players plenty of incentive not only to stay with rugby league, but also with the club.

“We have about five of the guys in the premiership-winning club going on to senior grades and it looks like they will be staying with us next season,” Towell said.

“A couple of players are joining NRL teams, but the vast majority will be back again to play.

“They have even asked me to go around again, but I will have to consult with my wife Andrea.

“I owe a lot to her for her support and understanding - most coaches are in the same boat and owe a great deal to their wives or part- ners for putting up with so much.”

Towell also paid tribute to Lloyd Alexander and Nicole Kammel for their support in helping get the side to the premiership.

He said with a new A grade coach Dean Allen coming on board and several of the Under 19s already showing their potential to play in the senior grades, the future for South Tweed was very promising.

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