VILLAGES United have kept their hopes of a 2015 New Era Cup premiership alive, earning a spot in the preliminary final with a 30-22 minor semi-final win over CSU Yellow on Saturday.
The defending premiers couldn’t match it with Villages, who controlled the match and earned an eight-point win at Jack Arrow Oval.
They will now face Blackheath this Saturday for a spot in the grand final.
The Blackcats went down 18-4 in their major semi-final against Wallerawang, who earned the right to host the decider.
After the Mungoes scored first in their bid to keep their premiership defence alive, Villages fought hard to get back on top by half-time.
Villages then extended their lead to 16 points early in the second half.
They held the CSU team at arm’s length for the rest of the game and though the Mungoes did give them a few nervous moments, Villages held firm. They now find themselves just a win away from the grand final.
“We started a bit slow and they got on the board early, but we hit back well,” Villages president Dave Smith said.
“In the second half we kept things pretty simple and tried to play sensible football.
“There was a period there where it looked like CSU could mount a bit of a comeback and make things interesting, but we defended well when it mattered and earned the win.
“Our finishing was very good, particularly in that second half. We took some smart options and were able to create a couple of tries when there was nothing really happening, so that was pleasing.”
Villages were well served by most of the usual suspects, with the likes of co-coaches Kris Kennedy and Jarrod Gafa both stepping up in the biggest game of their season to date.
Second rower Harrison Jones earned plenty of plaudits for his performance while Brendan Edwards and Tim Kaufusi were influential off the bench.
According to Smith, the result of the Wallerawang game wasn’t an especially big upset in itself, but the fact that it came in Blackheath where the minor premiers have been almost untouchable this season made him sit up and take notice.
“Also the scoreline as well, to win that match 18-4 is pretty impressive. Though having not seen the game, you never really can tell how it was played out,” he said.
“It will be a hard trip to Blackheath for us, but we went there last time with a fairly understrength side and ended up with only two on the bench due to injuries and they only just got over us.
“I think we’re a great chance of winning if we can play like we did against CSU.”
VILLAGES UNITED 30 defeated CSU YELLOW 22