Barossa clinch Third Grade title in extra-time thriller against Brighton

Sat, Sep 16, 2023, 2:30 AM
Rugby Union SA
by Rugby Union SA

Barossa have clinched the 2023 Third Grade title in dramatic fashion, winning 27-25 in extra time.

Entering the additional period at 20-all, Barossa struck first through an incredible team try iced by halfback Tim Kavasi.

Centre Bui Tuberi's conversion made it a 7-point game at the change of ends - but there was more drama to come with Brighton surging late to score in the second act's final play.

However the sideline conversion proved a bridge too far for standout Tigers kicker Grant Murdoch, without whom Brighton could not have survived for so long.

Barossa skipper Simon Chapple said he couldn't be prouder of his side's performance.

"It's such a special group of players and I know how hard we've worked all year," he said.

Barossa win a thrilling Third Grade Grand Final, defeating Brighton in the dying moments of overtime!

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Friday, September 15, 2023

"It means a lot to the club and all the people who've turned up - all our coaches, volunteers and supporters - and I'm so proud."

The Tigers drew first blood in the Third Grade decider through an early Grant Murdoch penalty but struggled to exit their defensive 50 during the early exchanges.

Sensing an opportunity, the Rams turned the screws with multiple attacking penalties before Vanivate Bokadi crashed over under the sticks, Sekove Duakorovatu's conversion handing Barossa a 7-3 advantage in the 20th minute.

However that was the only bright spark in a frustrating half for the Rams, who squandered two key chances inside the Tigers 22.

That frustration compounded with Murdoch finishing off a slick backline play from Brighton's first real attacking opportunity, the halfback converting to put his side up by 3.

Through the Lens 📸 Third Grade GF 2023 Barossa Rams Rugby Club 27 def Brighton Rugby Union Football Club 25 Photos by Rugby Australia

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Friday, September 15, 2023

A late defensive rally saved Barossa's blushes late in the half with the Tigers building 12 phases close to the tryline before being pinged for holding on.

And when a yellow card reduced Brighton to 14 men, the Tigers could only watch as Sisa Naresia strolled over from the ensuing play to put his side ahead 12-10.

Another Murdoch penalty briefly restored Brighton's advantage but defending a man down proved a bridge too far with Naresia starring again for Barossa’s third try in the 52nd minute.

The missed conversion, however, would prove costly, with John Bates scoring late and Murdoch coolly converting to lock things up at 20-all and send the game into extra time.

From there, as they say, the rest is history.

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