By KEITH PUARIA
ROTEK Cowboys rode off the back of an emotion-charged semi-final on Sunday, to knock Stage three Pactech Warriors out for the season and book a grand final spot in Gerehu Touch with a 12-7 win.
“Its been a mixed year for our team, but we dedicate this win and grand final spot to former player, the late Wallace Opu, who passed away early Saturday morning,” coach Petero Kilori said.
“It is not over yet and like all successful teams, we must humble ourselves now for the big one on Sunday.”
The Cowboys found the going tough early after Warriors five-eighth Skemp Skemp slipped through for the first try and points of the match five minutes into the game.
Patrick Kairi then locked the game 6-6, off a brilliant play courtesy of playmaker Sarivita Kairi.
He (Sarivita) converted before Warriors halfback again slotted a field goal on the halftime hooter for a 7-6 lead.
The second half came down to advantage in territory, and the Cowboys did just that keeping their opponents pinned down their own end for most of the half.
With eight minutes to go and staring down the barrel of a possible one point loss, fullback John Yagas took matters into his own hands, slicing through the tired Warriors’ defence and dashing 70m to score the eventual winner. Sarivita again converted.
Warriors’ playmakers Skemp, Tape White and forward Lape Aiyopa turned it up with about six minutes to go and only needed a converted try, but the Cowboys’ defence held on for 12-7 win.
In the other grand final decider, Dekenai Eagles grabbed the other spot off a 6-0 thriller over Borda Ratz.
In the B grade, Bulldogs defeated Rotek Crushers 6-4 for the first grand final spot while the Panthers-Bullets match will be replayed this week after the scores were drawn at full time and extra period.