Seagulls sweat on star playmaker's availability
RUGBY LEAGUE: Yeppoon Seagulls will be sweating on the availability of star playmaker Tamika Upton to keep their 2019 title hopes alive, after suffering a 20-6 loss to Brothers in today's Rockhampton A-grade women's preliminary final at Browne Park.
Upton, who recently signed an NRL contract with the Brisbane Broncos, could miss next weekend's qualifying final against Emu Park as she's due to take up her new opportunity in the south this week.
It was five-eighth Upton who opened the scoring in today's preliminary final when she broke the line in the fourth minute and ran 50m to score untouched under the posts.
The first half then developed into a real arm wrestle in which Brothers often looked the more likely, threatening the Yeppoon line a number of times with wide sweeps to the right and left.
However Brothers continuously fell short of crossing the stripe, and trailed 0-6 at the break.
The second half was less than two minutes old when Brothers fullback Jessica Powell broke the line on the right and dashed 30m to score under the black dot.
Nyree Gilluley converted to level the scores at 6-all.
Eleven minutes into the second stanza, Brothers winger Bree Spreadborough busted tackles before racing 70m to score halfway in from the left touch line.
Faced with a more difficult conversion this time, Gilluley made no mistake to extend the lead to 12-6.
In the 17th minute of the second half, a Brothers shift to the right went through several sets of hands before centre Krystal Hardin crossed in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful and Brothers led 16-6.
Just minutes later, Brothers were again peppering the right side, and again it was Hardin who crossed in the corner.
The conversion missed but Brothers' 20-6 lead was too great for a tiring Yeppoon to peg back.
Earlier today in the elimination final, Emu Park recorded a runaway 42-6 victory over Norths on the back of a standout performance from young five-eighth Tylah Phillips.
The 17-year-old was involved in everything in the first half, as poor ball handling let Norths down.
Phillips scored a first-half try double through sheer individual brilliance.
In the 19th minute she made a break and ran 60 metres to score untouched under the posts.
Then three minutes later she was at it again, chasing her own grubber to score.
In the second half, Phillips again looked dangerous every time she touched the football.
Not to be outdone, Emu Park front rower Jacinda Harrison bagged her own try double.
In the sixth minute of the second half, Harrison crashed over from short range after an attacking raid down the right side in which Phillips was again involved.
Harrison got her second try 10 minutes before full-time, and then Phillips capped off her stellar game by dashing out of acting half and unloading for another try assist.
Emu Park will now play Yeppoon on Saturday at Browne Park to see who will meet Brothers in the grand final.