THE Gatton Hawks played out a thrilling draw with the top-of-the-table Oakey Bears at Cahill Park on Sunday.
In wet and slippery conditions after overnight rain, both teams struggled early with the conditions and mistakes dominated the opening exchanges.
It was the Hawks who were first to come to grips in the wet when Gatton centre Cameron Nicholls crossed for a 4-0 lead.
Gatton soon extended that lead when back-rower Chris Muckert crossed next to the posts for a 10-0 score after 18 minutes.
Gatton continued to pile on the pressure and dominated most of the first half which culminated in Hawks’ skipper Aaron Werth crossing under the posts from a scrum five minutes before the break for a 16-0 Gatton lead.
It looked as though Gatton would take that lead into the break but a short drop-out from Oakey with two minutes left in the half saw them regather the ball, and from the next set of six the Bears crossed out wide after the half-time siren for a 16-6 score at the break.
Oakey continued that momentum soon after half-time, slicing through the Gatton defence to close the gap even further at 16-12.
In a complete reversal of the first half, it was Oakey who dominated field position and possession in the second stanza but Gatton’s defence continued to hold firm until an Oakey chip kick lead to a try.
The unsuccessful conversion left the scores at 16-16 with 12 minutes remaining.
Gatton had their attacking chances in the final stages of the game and turned down what would have been a tough attempt at a penalty conversion with six minutes remaining, deciding instead to attack Oakey’s line.
Gatton came up empty in that attacking opportunity but in the final seconds of the game a Gatton chip over the top near half-way from full-back Steve Franciscus and toe ahead into the in-goal looked like it would lead to a Gatton try.
The correct ruling came that Oakey had grounded the ball in their own in-goal and the scores remained 16-16 at full-time.
Gatton hooker Daniel Marsh was named man of the match while Steve Franciscus was named player’s player and took out the match of the round award.
The draw sees the Hawks remain in the top five and they now face another tough test against third placed Brothers at Cahill Park this Sunday.
Gatton 16 (Cameron Nicholls, Chris Muckert, Aaron Werth tries; Werth, Wes Murray goals) drew with Oakey 16.
Gatton’s reserve grade side tried all day in a hard-fought game of country rugby league.
Oakey proved just too good in the end taking the game 18-16.
Jai Taylor was named Gatton’s man of the match.
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