Grand Final heartache for battling Eastern Rhinos

Andrew Windridge - photo: Richard Beattie/SBS Photography

Andrew Windridge - photo: Richard Beattie/SBS Photography - Credit: Archant

Premier League Grand Final 0 SW London Chargers 46 - Eastern Rhinos 6

Jack Barbrook

Jack Barbrook - Credit: Archant

Eastern Rhinos suffered Grand Final heartache as the South West London Chargers made history, becoming the first club to be crowned champions in three consecutive seasons.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening exchanges but the Chargers dominated the second half to run out comfortable winners.

The Rhinos’ forwards failed to dominate the game in the manner that helped them to some excellent league wins this season, including an away victory against the Chargers.

That allowed the Chargers, with their clever off-loads and slick passing, to dictate the game.

Chargers opened the scoring after seven minutes when some good handling enabled centre Joe Briggs to score out wide.

Just a point had separated the two clubs at the end of a tough season and the Rhinos looked to be well placed to get one over the league leaders when they took the lead midway through the first half.

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A well-judged pass from Peter Le Marquand sent Fawaz Olabooye on an unstoppable run to the line, the former making it 6-4 with the conversion.

But the Chargers found a defensive weakness in the Rhinos’ left-side defence and three tries in eight minutes just before half time turned the game on its head to give them a 20-6 lead at the interval.

Early in the second half the Chargers struck again and, with some outstanding rugby, went on to score regularly throughout the second half without reply.

“Especially in the second half, the Chargers showed exactly why they have been Divisional champions for the last three years, and look likely to make National champions again,” said Le Marquand.

The lads were not disappointed with losing but felt on the day that they did not play to their full potential and show on the bigger stage the quality of rugby they have produced to match the South West London Chargers point for point throughout the year.”