A starring performance from Mitch Hutchings helped Manildra Rhinos book their tickets to a Woodbridge Cup grand final against Trundle after taking care of an out-classed Grenfell Goannas outfit.
Hutchings scored two tries - including one 40-metre run under the uprights - three conversions and three penalty goals in the 32-20 win at Cargo Oval.
That long run under the sticks came 10 minutes into the second half and put Grenfell's resistance to bed, with Hutchings fending off three Goannas defenders and storming over the line with two hanging off him.
He converted his own try and turned to the Grenfell crowd, arms aloft, with the 26-6 scoreline with half an hour to go basically sealing a Manildra and Trundle grand final, and with that, giving the Rhinos a chance for a "bit of redemption".
We scored early, got the points there, the structure was really good and the talk was there and it was all positive today.Manildra Rhinos' Mitch Hutchings
"Kicking was pretty hard today so the crowd got behind me and gave me a sizzling, so when I scored that try I had to celebrate really good because I put a lot of hard work into it and got us on the front foot again," Hutchings said.
"We thought we could have knocked Trundle off last week and we had a good run into the semis ... [but] we led 6-nil and then the boys dropped their heads and we couldn't get back into it.
"The boys want redemption on Trundle for last week so we got out plays in place and hopefully go over there and take it to them."
The Rhinos learned from their semi-final loss, putting in a consistent performance across the full 80 minutes, and while there were the occasional lapses - Sam Ingram jumping onto two such instances to cross the line - by and large the side never look troubled, either in defence or attack.
"We scored early, got the points there, the structure was really good and the talk was there and it was all positive today," Hutchings said.
"We're just look forward to next week and taking that positivity forward into next week into the grand final."
On the other hand, Grenfell were anything but consistent.
The side gave away two penalties in the opening few minutes, allowing Hutchings to cross for his first five minutes in, and the defensive talk and position was thrown out of whack as infringements kept piling up.
There was a flicker of life when Aiden Craig scored with 15 minutes to go and Mitch Stevens nailed the difficult conversion from the sideline to make it 28-16.
We just got out-enthused from the first minute and they got those first three tries and we were playing catch-up football.Goannas captain-coach Josh Bateman
The penalties continued though, with the Rhinos' last six points all coming by ways of penalty goals and three players - one from Manilda and two Grenfell - being sin binned in the final few minutes of the match as frustrations boiled over.
Grenfell skipper Josh Bateman said it just didn't come together for the Goannas.
"We had the momentum from the first week of finals and came here full of confidence and we didn't turn up to play today unfortunately," he said.
"We just got out-enthused from the first minute and they got those first three tries and we were playing catch-up football and there were too many mistakes, it wasn't working for us."
However, he took solace on the impact the club had on the Woodbridge Cup finals fixture.
"We weren't expected to make finals so to prove a few people wrong and knocking off Canowindra and Molong on their home grounds so just the way we turned up and played those first couple of weeks was really good," Bateman said.
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