THE Robertson Spuddies claimed their maiden Group Seven Rugby League premiership on Sunday, defeating the Mount Warrigal Kooris 18-10 in the third grade decider.
At Shellharbour's Ron Costello Oval, the Kooris, who have won the past three premierships, scored first when a ball toed through by centre Treigh Stewart ended in the hands of winger Bradley Berry.
This try came while both teams were reduced to 12-men, with Kooris' Dylan Riggs and Spuddies' Mitchell Conquest being sin-binned for an on-field altercation.
Group Seven history has been made at Ron Costello Oval, as Robertson won their first piece of competition silverware by defeating Mt Warrigal 18-10 in the third grade final.— Courtney Rhys Ward (@CortRhysWard) October 18, 2020
Player/coach Damien Barton discusses the win - ending the Kooris’ 3-year reign. @NSWRL@mercury_sportspic.twitter.com/FGon06SElu
Despite trialling 4-nil at the break, the Spuddies never gave up and they were rewarded for their desperate defence when centre James Foyer crossed in the 44th minute, following classy lead-up play by fullback Jayden Valenzisi.
Josh Heyhorn's boot then gave the Spuddies their first lead of the match 6-4.
But the premiers hit back when Nikita Drew put Stewart into space before the electric back sprinted 60 metres to score.
Riggs' conversion made it 10-6.
Minutes later, the Spuds regained the lead when Harrison Whatman wrapped around Dylan Balaam to score.
A conversion by Heyhorn, who in the ensuring minutes chased down Robert Moylan following an intercept to save a certain try, made it 12-10 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Despite losing inspirational skipper Tom Keft to a concussion, the Spuds sealed the match when player/coach Damien Barton barged over under the sticks.
The Robertson Spuddies celebrate their maiden Group Seven Rugby League premiership by singing their team song.— Courtney Rhys Ward (@CortRhysWard) October 18, 2020
Damien Barton’s troops held on to defeat Mount Warrigal 18-10 in the third grade decider - with Jayden Valenzisi being named man of the match. @NSWRL@mercury_sportspic.twitter.com/xPCNUodZC4
Heyhorn then made the lead eight, which they never relinquished - despite Drew and Harrison Whatman finishing the game in the bin.
In the historical win, Robertson's Valenzisi was named man of the match, with Keft, Foyer and Harrison Whatman playing starring roles.
In the loss, their first of 2020, the Kooris were best served by Stewart, Riggs, Drew and Dylan Talbott.
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