GPS book their place in the grand final with win over UQ
GPS booked their place in the grand final with a 42-24 win over University of Queensland at Ballymore on Sunday.
The Gallopers outscored the Heavies five tries to four as outside centre Maaloga Konelio crossed for a double.
Radike Samo was awarded the True Protein High Performer of the Round with a man-of-the-match performance. He started at lock but finished the game at Number 8 and put the nail in the coffin with final try of the match.
“This is a semi-final. In these important games you play like you don’t have a second chance and I really enjoyed that,” Samo said.
“I liked getting back to Number 8. Most of the year I’ve been playing at lock but I’ll do what is needed for the team and it’s great to be playing with a much younger squad.”
Just one minute into the match a loose pass was pounced on by Alex Horan who raced away to score under the posts for the first try of the match.
After 22 minutes, GPS’ outside centre Maaloga Konelio stepped off the left foot and crashed over to level the scores at 7-all after AJ Alatimu nailed the conversion.
Minutes later, Alatimu slotted a penalty goal to hand the Gallopers a 10-7 lead.
Chris Kuridrani tapped back a Nick Frisby box kick and then re-appeared in support to score in the corner for the Gallopers.
Right on the cusp of half time, University of Queensland replacement prop Reuben Leilua burrowed his way over to reduce GPS’ lead to five points.
After the break, Alatimu slotted another penalty goal to hand the Gallopers a 20-12 lead.
James Dalgleish made a half break and then delivered a deft offload to Nathan Russell who found the try line to reduce GPS’ lead to 20-17.
A set-piece move in the 50th minute saw Konelio carry the ball through two defenders and cross for the Gallopers third try.
Minutes later, UQ built pressure in GPS red zone and Leilua scored a pick and drive try to make it a one-point ball game.
Alatimu hit back with a penalty goal minutes later to extend GPS’ lead to 28-24.
With 12 minutes remaining, UQ were on the attack but Kuridrani swooped on a loose pass and ran 60 metres before popping the ball back inside for Todd Winkley to streak in for the Gallopers fourth try.
Samo barged his way over from close range in the dying stages to seal the win for the Gallopers who will now have two weeks to prepare for the grand final on August 20.
GPS 42 (Maaloga Konelio 2, Chris Kuridrani, Todd Winkley, Radike Samo tries; AJ Alatimu 4 cons; Alatimu 3 pen) defeated University of Queensland 24 (Alex Horan, Reuben Leilua 2, Nathan Russell tries; James Dalgleish 2 con)