Gropers seal perfect rugby season with grand final win

Champions: The victorious Margaret River Gropers rugby team after their win on Saturday. Photos: MR Gropers
Champions: The victorious Margaret River Gropers rugby team after their win on Saturday. Photos: MR Gropers

The Margaret River Gropers hosted the Dunsborough Dungbeetles on Saturday in front of a mammoth home crowd.

The festival of rugby was jumpstarted with an entertaining game between Geraldton and Collie.

Geraldton travelled in numbers to be a part of the big day and showed their class with a dominant display of rugby.

The juniors then had their chance on the stage with a thrilling game before clapping on the finalists.

After a perfect season to date the Gropers were heavy favourites.

Boasting a squad of 30 men at training it was clear that some would get little or no game time on Saturday due to the regulations on team size.

It was a "first world problem" for coach's Viv and Rob as team selection became an issue.

Dunsborough had been babysitting the Shield for a year after a mishap saw the Gropers lose their first final in 5 years last season. The Gropers were happy to to pay them $15 for their time, they accepted. From the outset it was clear that this would be no walk in the park.

Coach Viv had taken the boys to canine training this week to teach them how to subdue a boisterous pup. Unbeknownst to them, the labs they were handling turned in to mastiff's.

Full of confidence the Beetles began to misbehave, and the Gropers quickly resorted to backhanded tactics.

Unfortunately the ref noticed and soon started penalising the owners. Penalty after penalty ensued and the Gropers were on the back foot. However deciding to not take on the Gropers defence and take the shot at goal was a blessing as they'd happily concede the 3 points for a restart.

Dunsborough missed several attempts before finally adding some points for all the pressure.

It was all for nought though as the Gropers hit back immediately with 5 of their own every time. 

Dunsborough had a slightly better scrum, but that was where their dominance ended.  The Gropers killed them at the lineout , led by Tristan Moore.

The Gropers were physically superior and were aggressive in defence. Soon the bodies began to pile up on the Beetles sideline. Several huge tackles led by Captain Sam Henry stunned the opposition and had them looking over there shoulders all game. 

Dan Lee was hard to stop at full pace and began to break the defence. Cory Bridge and Olly Chanin began to surgically slice through the opposition and Max Dickson was on the end of some great passing to score out wide. 

At half time the game was still in the balance with only a couple of tries between them. Dunsborough struggled to break the defence and scored against the run of play with a well weighted grubber.

The Gropers have taken back the title after a perfect season of rugby.

The Gropers have taken back the title after a perfect season of rugby.

The Gropers hit back again when Ben Christie kicked off his heels and danced over the line, fooling his opponents with his deceptive lack of pace. All year the Gropers have destroyed their opponents in the second half.

A brutal fitness regime from Viv has enabled them to overrun their opponents and the Grand Final proved no different. As the fresh legs were brought on, the score gradually stretched. Jayde Tiopora was tireless, Emile and Dos combined well and began to make yards. 

Mark Sheath was everywhere, including the sin bin. Jake Algate carved up and Tex and Clem ran hard. Once again the line defence was immense. Led by Jake Nesbit they cannoned into the enemy faltering only once. Simon Earl had a blinder with his only fault a misdirected place kick to end the game. 

Eventually, despite the Dungbeetles never giving up, the Gropers ran away clear victors with a 44-15 scoreline. It is their fifth Premiership in 6 years and their most impressive season to date, going undefeated.

The Shield is back where it belongs after its gap year away from home. The Gropers would like to thank all of their supporters for making the season possible. Keep an eye on next week’s Mail as we extend our thanks to our club sponsors and supporters.