Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Whitsunday Raiders travelled to BB Print stadium in Mackay to take on the Moranbah Bulls for the 2023 MRU Grand Final.
All season these two teams have been the strongest of the competition.
It was always going to be a tightly contested game for the coveted silver cup.
Moranbah had the confidence of the semi final win over the Raiders and the Raiders had the confidence of a tough win over Kuttabul last week.
It was the Raiders who had the first chance to put points on the board with a penalty 30 metres out from the posts, unfortunately it missed by the smallest of margins.
As the game unfolded the lead changed six times.
With neither team giving any easy ground.
It was the trifecta of tries by Luke Rae-Howard that made the difference between the two sides, two of which were skilful individual moments, an intercept as well as a kick chase off a Moranbah knock on.
Luke’s third try came off a backline movement that saw winger Jack Briskey chip over the fullback and Luke pounced on the bouncing ball to give him his third and the Raiders a 25-20 lead.
The last 5 minutes of the game saw Moranbah attack the Raiders line, the men in green stood the onslaught of the bulls the defensive pressure was too much for the bulls and a knock on at the base of a ruck saw the Raiders pounce on the loose ball and seal the win 25-20.
Two trophies in the past 3 years made it a special send off for outgoing coach Andre Houston and capped off a wonderful 5 years for the club under his tutelage.
Proserpine Whitsunday Rugby union as well as Mackay District Rugby is indebted to Andre and Karla for their dedication to the players and the game of Rugby Union.
Contributed with thanks to Craig Spence.
2023 squad photo
Presentation Of The Cup. Photo Credit: Marty Strecker Photography, Mackay