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The Monaro Colts have made the Grand Final in both the Men's Country Championships and Laurie Daley Cup being played this Sunday in Cessnock. 

In what were both tightly contested semi-final matchups, the Monaro MCC side edged Northern Rivers 12-8, while the LDC side redeemed themselves against Central Coast after losing to them in round one, defeating the Roosters 26-18. 

The MCC side are looking to put the cherry on top of what has been a massively improved campaign compared to 2023 when they suffered a big round one loss to the Riverina Bulls. 

While the LDC side are seeking redemption after last years Grand Final heart break when they narrowly fell short 26-24 to the Illawarra South Coast Dragons.

All Grand Final action will be LIVE on NSWRL TV. 

Men's Country Championships 

Monaro Colts 12 d Northern Rivers 8

The low scoring affair saw multiple lead swaps with the final result being determined by successful conversion attempts. 

This was a game of two halves for Monaro as multiple scoring opportunities went missing in the first half, before they finally found their groove after the break.

Northern Rivers were first to hit the board through a slick shift to get centre Jacek McLaurin over in the corner. 

Monaro's first chance came in the 17th minute when second rower Jesse Dent busted through before the ball made its way into the hands of winger Brandon Withers who got to the line but was called back for stepping on the touchline.

Monaro proceeded to put themselves in good scoring positions throughout the half, with interchange forward Jeffery Morgan being held up over the line, followed by fullback Jack Davison stepping off the left twice before being taken down inches from scoring.

After going into the sheds down 4-0, Monaro were first to strike in the second half, with five-eighth Matt Woolnough setting up centre Gideon Afemui to score in the corner, followed by a successful Sam Williams conversion to take the lead. 

Northern Rivers snagged the lead back through a kick across field for their winger to make an uncontested catch before running across the in-goal to score near the posts. 

With the conversion attempt being essentially right in front, Titans five-eighth somehow hit the right post to deny his side the additional two points. 

However this blunder didn't determine the final result as edging close to fulltime, Dent ran a hard line from close range to put the ball under the posts for an easy conversion attempt and secure Monaro the win. 

The win seals Monaro's Grand Final spot where they will face their biggest test against a strong Newcastle-Maitland outfit. 

Laurie Daley Cup 

Monaro Colts 26 d Central Coast 18 

A phenomenal playmaking performance from halfback Jonah Anderson gave Monaro the edge over the side that caused them round one havoc.

I didn't take long for Anderson to showcase his attacking prowess, as he threw a beautiful cut-out ball to put winger Lachlan Cunanan in the corner within the first five minutes of play.   

Central Coast playmaker Chaice Bayley responded by throwing a perfect cut-out ball of his own to put his centre Zahn McKay through a hole and take a 6-4 lead. 

Another Anderson try assist came shortly after when Monaro ran a set play off the scrum in attacking zone. The crafty halfback drew in defenders to get his fullback James Croker into some space on the outside and cross for Monaro's second. 

Monaro scored two more before the break, first through Yuri Hromow crashing over from close range, followed by Anderson, once again, setting up another four pointer as he put through a grubber that bounced perfectly for second rower Joseph Elton to score. 

With the game still in reach at 20-6 heading into the sheds, Anderson continued to terrorise the Roosters in the second half.

10 minutes in, Anderson scored a try of his own by throwing a dummy, stepping inside and diving over the line, making it more difficult for Roosters to comeback.

The Roosters scored soon after through a silky shift to put winger Samisoni Talakai over the line, keeping his sides hopes alive. 

Monaro held out defensively for the remainder half until Central Coast went on to score what was the try of the match.  

With the game already sealed for Monaro, the Roosters scored a magnificent consolation try in the final minute, starting with halfback Brooklyn Rosemeyer handing off an inside ball to put his fullback Sean Bullen through a gap who ran 30 metres before executing a beautiful flick pass to support on his inside to score.

Monaro will now face the Northern Tigers in the Grand Final at Cessnock Sportsground.  

Image by Sue Graham

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.