The Raiders SG Ball team looks dejected after their grand final loss to the Balmain Tigers
IN 1989, Tigers legend Ben Elias slumped to the turf in despair after Canberra outlasted Balmain in the 1989 grand final.
But his nephew Mitchell Moses exacted a tiny morsel of revenge for that defeat with a brilliant display in the Tigers' 42-20 SG Ball grand final win over Canberra at St Marys yesterday.
In a spiteful match, the classy five-eighth produced a man-of-the-match performance to hand the Tigers their first title in the under-18 competition for 30 years.
With legends from both clubs watching from the stands, including Laurie Daley, David Furner, Wayne Pearce and Paul Sironen, the Tigers were terrific.
But Canberra effectively gave itself no chance with a multitude of errors and poor discipline, especially early in the second half.
Led by classy five-eighth Moses, the Tigers took full advantage to grab a 16-10 half-time lead, which they soon extended to 28-10 with two quick tries after the break.
Moses revealed afterward Elias had told him beforehand not to waste the opportunity he let slip.
''He just said good luck before the game and to just back myself, do whatever suits me,'' Moses said.
''It's a big challenge playing against Anthony [Milford], everyone was talking about that this week and I wanted it badly.
''We're a real structured side, we hit the middle then go to the edges, that's what works well for us.''
Canberra coach Peter Marrapodi conceded his side was outplayed, but that it contributed to its own demise.
''We gave them far too many opportunities, and at this level they normally turn into points,'' Marrapodi said.
''Just far too many errors, especially in the first half, and I was really disappointed with the effort in defence.''
Marrapodi expects a handful of players to graduate to the Toyota Cup next year, and possibly the NRL in a few years.
''There's a few here that will play Toyota Cup and as for NRL, who knows,'' he said.
''Some of them have the tools to do it, it just depends on attitude and opportunity.''
Dynamic Canberra halfback Milford was dangerous, but his opportunities were few and far between due to the Raiders' poor completion rate.
After a few spotfires during the game, the contest finally exploded in the dying seconds when a scuffle resulted in Tigers forwards Salesi Funaki and Leki Taumalolo being sent to the bin, and Raiders hooker Trent Schubach placed on report.
The result was a huge turnaround to the major semi final three weeks ago, which the Raiders won 40-8.
AT A GLANCE
SG BALL GRAND FINAL
BALMAIN TIGERS 42 (Nathan Milone 2, Daniel Ravkin 2, Rhys Armstrong, Alex Zarounas, Leva Li tries; Mason Farrell 7 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 20 (Rourke O'Sullivan, Anthony Milford, Scott Doyle, Jason Chudleigh tries; Milford 2 goals) at St Marys Leagues Stadium.