A gallant effort by the Ray White Noosa Dolphins saw the team come up trumps against the USC Barbarians on Saturday. The highly anticipated grudge match provided fans yet another opportunity to see good quality and exciting rugby.
As both teams continue to pursue the premiership title, Noosa came out firing with early pressure to register first points through a Jordan Mayhew penalty goal. The Barbarians were dangerous, opening up a significant lead with two converted tries before the brute strength of a Dolphins driving maul forced Adam Waring across the line.
While the Barbarians carried a narrow 14 – 10 lead into the second half it was short lived, a try from Dolphins Captain Brandon Mayhew etched Noosa into the lead. A penalty goal to the Barbarians closed the gap again until the Dolphin’s bench players came on to make their presence felt. Tries to Niko Waqanisau and Taylor Moffat and a Jordan Mayhew penalty goal followed putting the Dolphins in good position for the run home.
The unleashing of Dolphins powerhouse Gary McNeil capitalised on the fight for possession in the scrum but a determined USC kept the score alive at 30 – 24 with an unanticipated converted try. On the attack the unstoppable Brandon Mayhew found the try line again with trademark flair. Only minutes remained and a 13-point lead to the Dolphins saw the mission all but completed until a penalty try awarded to the Barbarians threatened to rewrite Noosa’s happy ending.
Despite the Barbarians effort, the Dolphins claimed a 37 – 31 victory to remain in the top spot. Dolphins Coach Mick ‘Roxy’ Phelan credits his fullback Jordan Mayhew’s ability to counter the Barbarians kicking game and the team’s defensive lineouts forcing turnovers at crucial stages for influencing the win.
Best on field three-points and the Little Sister Noosa player of the match went to Vice-Captain Wil Rogers, two-points to Jordan Mayhew and 1-point to Adam Waring. A win next Saturday, in the final round game against the Wynnum Bugs at Wynnum, will be vital to achieving the minor premiership and securing a home game semi-final.
A Grade Noosa 37 – USC Barbarians 31