Gympie goes down fighting in controversial semi-final
RUGBY UNION: Despite being touted as potential premiers, Gympie have bowed out of the Sun- shine Coast women's rugby union title race after a controversial semi-final showdown with arch rivals Noosa at the weekend.
An understandably disappointed Hammers coach Glenn Gamble took to social media after the match, saying the season had been full of "highs and lows”.
"Our girls played their heart out,” the Hervey Bay-based coach said.
"Every member of this losing semi-final team has my utmost respect.
"When the season was on the line they all dug deep.”
Gympie were odds-on favourites to take the match, being the only team to defeat the Dolphins in 2017.
The visitors put seven points on the board early, managing to keep the home side at bay for the entire first half.
However, it was a controversial penalty try to Noosa just after half-time that saw them even the score.
Debate was sparked after a clash of rule interpretation by players and the referee causing emotions to spill over.
The scores stayed locked until the end of the match, forcing 10 minutes of overtime, before a try each had the game locked up again.
Noosa progressed to the decider on the back of a better for and against ratio.
"To rise again after the game, to support each other and find humour in the loss, to me that is the measure of a great team,” Gamble said.
Hammers captain Bec Briggs also expressed her disappointment.
Speaking with The Gympie Times, Briggs said her side was "robbed”.
"It is heartbreaking,” she said. "It feels like the refereeing decided the outcome of the game.
"I feel like Noosa should not have been awarded that penalty try.”
The Hammers will now turn their attention to the sevens season.
Briggs predicts the modified format will suit her side.
"It is exciting,” she said. "I think the sevens format will really suit the faster players in our squad.”