Diamond effort in Coal Cup
THE CSU Blue Mungoes are the 2012 Centennial Coal Cup champions after a brilliant 30-10 win in the grand final on Saturday against the Lithgow Bears.
Playing the two-time defending premiers, a brilliant defensive effort at the start of both halves helped the Mungoes claim the silverware in their first season in the competition after defecting from Tertiary League this season.
Way back in 1975 a past incarnation of the club won the Mid West Cup as it was known then, and in front of a raucous and large home crowd on Saturday they added a another cherished title to their trophy cabinet.
"I couldn't possibly be any happier," CSU fullback and co-coach Josh Kemp said.
"We came here thinking that it could go either way, Lithgow have been a great side this season and in the last couple, but to win is just the best feeling."
Kemp was one of the stars for the students as they ran in five tries to two in what was a high-quality contest for the majority of the 80 minutes.
Things were soured somewhat as the game deteriorated in the last 15 minutes with penalties coming ad nauseum and the puzzling send-off of Lithgow forward Peter Bradford.
He was the third Lithgow player to spend time off the field after player-coach Brett Ranse was sin-binned in the first half along with lock Ben Picman in the second.
While their attack was good enough to score four tries in the opening half hour of the match, it was very much their defence which won the Mungoes the grand final.
They spilled the ball in the first set of the match and it led to the Bears being camped on their goal line for most of the opening 10 minutes.
Lithgow were unable to find a way through though and a relieving penalty saw CSU begin to work their way into the match.
After 15 minutes they crossed for their first try through Brendan Miller and within eight minutes they had their second as Rhys Power went down the short side from dummy-half.
Blake Robinson's conversion made it 10-0 and from there they started to gain real control of the game in the centre of the field.
A critical moment came when Ranse was binned, though the reasoning behind the decision wasn't clear.
Thomas Cary-Edwards made the most of the numerical advantage as he crashed over from close range, and the game was well and truly tilting towards the students soon after.
From the restart CSU half Sam Thompson, quiet up until that point, cut the Lithgow defence to shreds with a brilliant 70 metres run and in seemingly no time the lead had blown out to 22-0 and things were slipping away from Lithgow.
After some errors from the Mungoes, Lithgow found some signs of life just before half-time when Picman forced his way in for a vital try, Jared Miller's goal putting them within 16.
Against a class outfit, that sort of margin wasn't a guarantee of victory for CSU, and in the opening exchanges of the second half Lithgow put their opposition under the blowtorch.
The first 13 minutes was played almost exclusively in CSU's half, but again they resisted and three consecutive penalties fully relieved the pressure valve.
The sealer came through replacement Taylor Voican, who forced his way through three defenders to give his side some extra breathing space. Though Lithgow scored their second through James Reinhardt, it was too late.
A penalty from Robinson extended the margin to 20 points and the Mungoes were home.
Kemp was outstanding at fullback while Power was vital off the bench and Thompson named man of the match.
"They were too good on the day," a disappointed Ranse said.
"I can handle being beaten by a better side. But we didn't have a call go our way all day, we copped a lot of decisions.
"In saying that, discipline is something we will have to work on next season."
CSU BLUE 30 (Brendan Miller, Rhys Power, Thomas Cary-Edwards, Sam Thompson, Taylor Voican tries; Blake Robinson 5 goals) defeated LITHGOW BEARS 10 (Ben Picman, James Reinhardt tries; Jared Miller goal)