Tom Price wins inaugural Ashburton Cup

Alicia PereraPilbara News
The players of the Tom Price Steelers with the Ashburton Cup.
Camera IconThe players of the Tom Price Steelers with the Ashburton Cup. Credit: Tom Price Steelers

The Tom Price Steelers have been crowned 2019’s best rugby league club in the inland Pilbara after triumphing over Paraburdoo in the inaugural Ashburton Cup.

The intertown best-of-three series went down to a decider after the first two games resulted in wins each way but in Paraburdoo on November 1 the Steelers defeated the Pirates 14-10 to claim the winner’s trophy.

Tom Price Steelers secretary Tilly Wirihana said the club’s strong team culture had given them an edge.

“For Tom Price, we’ve worked really hard on making sure it wasn’t just about being in a sports team but it was more like a family,” she said.

“We include ourselves in every aspect of the boys’ lives ... and everything we’ve done has been as a team.”

Paraburdoo Pirates president and team captain Mike Hay said the club was already looking forward to a rematch in 2020 but he was proud of how competitive his team had been and the sportsmanship that had been on display.

“The best thing is it was played in really good spirits and camaraderie and there was really good respect between both sides,” he said.

“After games there would be good cheer between the teams and everyone got along, and that’s the thing I’ll be really pushing to continue.”

The Ashburton Cup was set up following the formation of the first formal rugby league clubs in both Tom Price and Paraburdoo in July.

Both clubs have since flourished and attracted strong community interest, with each game of the cup series drawing hundreds of spectators.

Ms Wirihana said the level of local support for both clubs had been overwhelming.

“We had numbers that exceeded everyone’s expectations but we’re so glad that we did,” she said.

She said the Ashburton Cup would now be an annual event.

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