Brothers make Brisbane Premier Grand Final

Brothers make Brisbane Premier Grand Final

Brothers weren’t pretty, but they were pretty effective and downed a resilient Easts outfit 22-10 to win through to next week’s Brisbane Premier rugby Grand Final to face South’s next Sunday.

It was a game that Easts will look back on as one that could quite probably have gone their way as they dominated a ragged Brothers in the first half but did not make the most of their opportunities.

The game didn’t start well for Easts, as they kicked out on the full from the opening whistle, and then gave away a penalty in the first two minutes to give Brothers the chance to open the scoring.  Brothers scrummie, Brendan McKibbin, missed the penalty attempt, and this seemed to settle the Tigers who played the more composed rugby in the opening stanza.

The Easts back-row, lead by Number 8 Eddie Quirk, dominated the more fancied back row of the Brethren and they were able to pressure the Brothers backs whose handling was at times diabolical.

It was not long before this control and pressure benefited Easts with them again getting in behind Brothers who were forced to foul under pressure.  The resulting penalty was missed by Easts fly half Andrew Krelle, but Brothers were looking shaky.

The dam finally burst when Brothers botched another backline move with Easts scrum-half Kieran Lander, taking an intercept on half way and scooting away into the Brothers 22.  After some good interchange between the Easts backs and forwards, Tigers hooker Shaun Mills crashed over next to the post from close range. Krelle kicked the conversion and the Tigers where deservedly ahead 7-0 after 12 minutes.

Brothers continued to gift the Tigers chances by combining their lack of composure with some ineffective work at the breakdown however the Tigers lacked the attacking nous to make the most of some reasonable chances.

A penalty goal at the 21 minute mark settled Brothers, who favoured a more direct forward approach for the rest of the half, but still the stoic Tigers were able to deal with these threats relatively easily.

The bravery and commitment of the Tigers forwards was evident as they kept belting Brothers and the claret flowed with both Easts Captain Luke Bertini, and standout Number 8 Eddie Quirk spending time in the blood-bin

In the shadows of half time Brothers showed just what a class outfit they are by constructing a beautifully worked try from just inside their own half. From a scrum win, Brothers fly half Dallan Murphy, drifted across field and found a straight running James Harvey who sliced between the Tigers centres and made haste toward the try line.

As Harvey came toward the Tigers cover, he popped a sweet ball to the trailing blind-side winger Anthony Pyers and then looped to receive a return pass. Harvey’s speed and strength saw him cross wide out for a try that gave Brothers the lead, but in the context of the game, not one they deserved.

McKibbin missed the conversion, and as the teams went for oranges it was Brothers leading 8-7.

A rejuvenated Brothers took the field in the second half, and it was clear they had re-assessed what they were doing, and looked far more committed and controlled.  It wasn’t long before Easts found themselves under pressure as Brothers finally started getting their shit together.

Easts continued to mount attacks and still looked dangerous however they did not have the same dominance of the first half.

Brothers’ kicking game continually pinned the Tigers in their own quarter and at the 53rd minute the Tigers could hold them out no longer.  A blind side raid by fullback Damon Murphy opened up Easts and in the last line of defence Murphy was tackled only 10 meters out wide on the right.

Brothers hammered in tight for two phases and fractured Easts defence to the point where they were short of numbers out wide on the left – exactly where Brothers headed. Some strong running once again from James Harvey resulted in winger Paul Doneley crossing un-opposed out wide, McKibbin drained the sideline conversion and Brothers were up 15-7 after 53 minutes.

A penalty goal by Krelle a few minutes later to Easts gave the Tigers hope, but it was clear Easts were starting to fatigue from the welter of territory and possession that Brothers were enjoying.

The longer the game went, Brothers set piece started to get the better of Easts, which up until now had probably won the forward exchanges.

Easts summoned one last putsch as they tried without reward to score when Brothers were awarded a short arm penalty from a ruck under their own sticks after Easts had gone through endless phases of play. This was the turning point of the game as Brothers were able to clear their line and once again return play to the other end of the field.

In the 71st minute Brothers centre Nat Gendle smoked his opposite number in a massive tackle forcing the ball to come free. James Harvey toed the ball through for Brothers and as the ball bounced free from the Tigers back three inside their own 22, it was all Brothers.

From the following ruck Brothers poured through with man-of-the-match Simon Price leading the charge. Easts were never going to hold back this tide as Brothers won the ball and one pick and drive later, Nat Gendel went over to effectively end the game. McKibbin kicked the conversion from in front and Brother were home 22-10.

Speaking to G&GR Easts Coach, Pat Richards, was left to rue the what might have been after the game.

“We started well and finished the game well but it was that patch in the middle that left us in no-mans-land. At the end of the day they got some calls that went for them but we had an opportunity to win the game with 8 minutes to go and got a short arm (penalty) against us and that was the end of the game.”

“They were able to shut it down so good luck to them. They are a side when they get in front they get their tails up.  If they hadn’t have scored that second try it could have been a different story.”

Brothers coach, Zane Hilton was not overly happy with what he saw but was happy with the win.

“You’ve just got to win in these situations and we are extremely happy. We defended well, we’ve got the best defensive record coming into the finals, we usually get credit for our attack but we defended extremely well today”

Brothers stalwart David Croft wasn’t entirely happy either

“We played an intelligent game this week, we kicked when we should have kicked. We kicked strategically and it worked, I’m very much looking forward to next week.”

The final word should go to Pat Richards about who he thinks will win next week.

“They are both good sides, I really don’t know, I’ll have to go the District club (Souths)” Richards laughed.

“I don’t know, it’ll be a good game anyway – it will be a cracker”


Mr Consistently Average

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