By Olivia Barry
The Illawarra Steelers SG Ball (U18) team were 30-28 winners over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
Tries to winger Jason Gillard and brothers Hayden and Zac Lomax saw the Steelers take an 18-0 lead after 15 minutes.
The Rabbitohs hit back with two tries of their own, but a further four pointer to Steelers centre Matheson Johns brought the half-time score to 22-12 in Illawarra’s favour.
The opposition began the second half with an intensity that saw them score two consecutive tries to take the lead 24-22, but a penalty to Zac Lomax evened the scores once again.
The Rabbitohs again took the lead through an unconverted try with only minutes remaining, but the Steelers had the final say in the scoring, Trent Peoples’ late try converted by Zac Lomax leading to a 30-28 win and a place in the 2016 SG Ball Cup Grand Final.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling”, said Steelers captain Hayden Lomax.
“To go into the grand final with this group of amazing boys and on a tough win like that is outstanding."
Steelers Coach Shane Millard was in agreeance.
“We played really well in some patches but we can sometimes become flustered," said Millard.
"However what they’ve got you can’t coach - it’s the desire to work hard for each other.
"They’re a great bunch of young men and they’ve become really close friends.
"We are so proud of them.”
The Illawarra Steelers will take on the Penrith Panthers in the Grand Final at Pepper Stadium, Penrith on Saturday (2.00pm).