The Campbelltown City Kangaroos put on a dominant display to beat the Thirlmere Roosters 30-8 in the Group 6 rugby league first grade grand final on Saturday night.
The win – highlighted by a Josh Burke hat-trick – also saw the Kangaroos lift the Norman L Day Cup.
Thirlmere may have headed into the match as favourites but it was Campbelltown who were quickest out of the blocks with livewire fullback Jett Karam opening the scoring after nine minutes in front of a vocal crowd at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Five minutes later a Thirlmere kick was charged down and Burke pounced to score the first of his three tries.
The Kanagroos defence was impenetrable until the 23rd minute when Roosters winger Justin Smith crossed for his side’s first.
An unsuccessful conversion saw the score remain at 12-4 until Kangaroos forward Raui Poaru scored four minutes before halftime.
A penalty goal to Campbelltown backrower Chris Williamson ensured the Kangaroos took an unlikely 18-4 lead into the halftime break.
Nine minutes after the break Smith managed to score his second try and give his Thirlmere teammates and their supporters some hope.
Another missed conversion from Eddie Paea saw the scoreline remain at 18-8.
A second try to Burke 18 minutes before fulltime saw the Kangaroos take a commanding lead. His third try, 10 minutes later, ensured the win for the Kangaroos.
While Burke was named Man of the Match, special mention should also go to Kangaroo players Jett and Jhy Karam, PJ Leifi, and the backrow of Williamson, captain Kurt Austin and lock Matt Jones.
The win capped off an impressive first year at the helm of the Kangaroos for former Wests Tigers player Liam Fulton.
Fulton said he hadn’t had discussions with the club about extending his coaching tenure into next year yet. He just wanted to soak up the win. “It’s pretty special the club won the premiership,” he said.
Fulton – a member of the 2005 winning Wests Tigers side – said it was an odd feeling being in a grand final not as a player.
“You feel a bit helpless. When you’re a player you can contribute a bit more,” he said.
In other matches: the Mittagong Lions beat Camden Rams 24-22 in reserve grade; Picton Magpies were victorious, 32-16, over Thirlmere in the under 18s; Narellan Jets beat Thirlmere 8-6 in league tag; Narellan prevailed 20-18 over Appin Dogs in the Second Division Cup; and Bundanoon Highlanders beat Oran Park Chargers 36-6 in the Southern Highlands Shield.