IT WAS clear from the outset that Jandowae was there to win, and sure enough the mighty Fishhooks overcame south west Queensland’s reigning premiership winners to take home the coveted Lindsay Williams Shield for 2022.

The makeshift Jandowae team, which each year only plays in the Lindsay Williams tournament and a trial game against Dalby, beat Roma Cities in the final with a score of 28-12.

Jandowae Fishhooks win the 2022 Lindsay Williams Shield

It was a joyous occasion for Jandowae but one that was also marked with sadness. Only hours before the carnival kicked off the team learned that proud and devoted Fishhooks supporter George Hoath had passed away.

Fishhooks dummy half and club spokesman Danny Wassell said the sudden loss of Mr Hoath inspired players to “dig deep” and bring home the shield in his honour.

“The boys were pretty emotional when we went out to play so it meant a lot to us this year,” Wassell said.

“George was one of those fellas who would do anything for anyone, and he’d do anything for the club. If you asked him to mow the lawn, he’d mow the lawn. If you asked him to dig up prickles, he’d dig up prickles.

Tara Panthers and Jandowae Fishhooks observed a minute’s silence in honour of George Hoath

“There was only about three blokes in the team who didn’t know George personally and they could see what he meant to everyone, so everyone was out there to dig deep.”

Wassell said defence was a big factor in the Fishhooks’ success. Tackling has been a focus at training and hard work seemingly paid off when Jandowae beat Tara by 34-nil in the first game.

Debutant Brayden Favley dominated during broken play at fullback, while prop Willie Cambourn led up front with relentless, storming hit ups.

Taroom-Wandoan Battlers halfback spreads the ball against Roma Cities

The annual carnival at Wandoan brings together four teams from the wider district for a knockout tournament named in honour of local Lindsay Williams, who became a professional rugby league player in Brisbane before his untimely passing 15 years ago.

Last year the Taroom-Wandoan Battlers claimed the trophy but on Saturday the hosts were knocked out in the first game by Roma Cities, who won the 2021 Roma & District A-Grade competition.

It was the Battlers’ first defeat since 2019. There was no football in 2020 and last year the team was unbeaten in the Roma Reserve-grade competition.

Roma Cities centre Tom Barron returns the ball from a kickoff against the Taroom-Wandoan Battlers

All four teams appeared evenly matched in size, skill and speed but the usual preseason fitness factor played a role. Most of the points which racked up on the scoreboard came during the second halves.

“The Lindsay Williams is a great little carnival and its just good to have people come to country towns for footy.

“Football is football, but everyone comes in and has a beer, catches up with old mates, and you make friends from football. That’s the main thing I think.”

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