RICHARD Manion was almost a hero when he burst onto the ball and into the clear with just 15 metres to the tryline late in the game only to have the pass ruled forward.
“I thought I was in there at the death,” he said.
“But we were our own worst enemy and went to sleep for those 10 minutes before half-time and again just after the break. We came at them in the end but we just left our run too late.”
Manion said his backline had largely contained the star-studded Griffith backs.
“They only scored one try — our defence had to be good to keep a side like that to one try,” he said.
“They had some names in the backs.”
HANDS OFF - Tom's double disaster
ALL year the Steamers had been able to dominate the set pieces and control the line-outs.
But that all changed just 30 minutes into the grand final against Griffith when go-to line-out man Tom Rowan was rendered a passenger.
The lanky forward broke the little finger on his right hand in a tackle and came to the sideline to have it strapped to his ring finger.
But in the very next tackle Rowan dislocated the thumb on his left hand.
“They strapped it up as well but I couldn’t catch, I couldn’t hold onto the ball,” he said.
“I wanted to come back on but in the end it would have been useless.”
NO COMEBACK - End of the line for trio
STEAMER veterans Dan Hogg, James Kora and Nathan Bright said there would be no shock comebacks after their final game with the Steamers on Saturday.
All three had planned to watch from the sidelines this year after playing in the Steamers’ undefeated premiership last year.
“That’s it,” House Kora said.
“I’m not throwing the boots away but I won’t play again. I said that last year too, but when they were short of props at the start of the season I put my hand up and have really played just as an impact player.”
Hogg said it was a tough contest.
“We gave it our all and at the end of the day they were just too good,” he said.
WINNERS ARE GRINNERS - Tiring Blacks hold on
GRIFFITH coach Seru Rogo said work on set pieces and nullifying the Steamers’ forward roll were the keys to their grand final victory.
He said man of the match Richard Latu and flanker Leon Tiere were among the best in the Blacks first premiership in 11 years.
“We had to stop them rolling over us and those two boys were outstanding with the hits they made and when they had the ball in their hands,” Rogo said.
“The scrum held and won two against the feed and not many expected that to happen. But in the final 10 minutes I was worried. We thought having the rest would help but we were tiring.”