Rugby League

Joe Picker heroics fail to drag gutted Goulburn to premiership

He'd dislocated his wrist with just minutes remaining in extra-time, but Goulburn back-rower Joe Picker refused to succumb to the pain. 

Joe Picker is upended by the Blues' defence on Sunday.
Joe Picker is upended by the Blues' defence on Sunday. Photo: Melissa Adams

His arm hanging limply by his side, Picker's decision to play on showed how badly the Bulldogs wanted to atone for last year's grand final loss to Queanbeyan Blues, also in extra-time. 

It was the same injury which sidelined Picker for an extended period during the regular season. 

However, Goulburn tasted the worst kind of deja vu after the 24-14 Canberra Raiders Cup grand final defeat at Seiffert Oval on Sunday. 

The only reason ageless prop Michael Dodson decided to play on at Goulburn this year was to rid himself of last year's heartache. 

"Not everyone can have that fairytale," said the 39-year-old. 

"Personally I think it was the first 15 minutes [where we lost it], when they forced all those repeat sets. We held them out but it gassed us, and we had no sting left at the end. I'll be 40 next year and that's it for me, I can't push myself through another year. They're a good side and nothing went our way."

It also meant fellow retirees Ritchie Mason and Shane McCallum didn't bow out the way they'd have liked. 

The Bulldogs were quietly confident they could turn the tables against the Blues, but a lack of calmness at crucial times late in the match cost them. 

They defended stoically early on when the Blues had all the ball and field position early.

In the end, an outstanding kicking game from Queanbeyan five-eighth Marc Herbert and a touch more class out wide got the Blues over the line. 

"Obviously it's pretty disappointing and it's a big rebuild phase for us now," Goulburn captain-coach Mick Picker said. 

"The young fellas who have come through and the injuries we've had. I saw it [Joe Picker's injury], noticed it was gone and put two and two together. It's one of those things, panic stations when you're chasing points. I'm really happy with my boys this year and a few have gone above and beyond what I expected."