Brothers start season strongly with big win
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
ONE trial match does not make a season, but Gladstone Brothers got their 2005 A grade rugby league season off to a bright start with a 52-24 victory over Wallabys on Saturday night.
A tight contest for three 20-minute quarters, Brothers kicked clear in the final period at Marley Brown Oval to send out an early warning to their Gladstone and District Rugby League rivals.
Brothers started strongly, crossing in just the third minute through halfback Ben Platt.
Although Wallabys winger Neil Seden scored five minutes later off an Ashley Dodd grubber kick, the Brethren dominated the opening quarter, leading 12-4 at the break courtesy of a converted try to second-rower Clint Doherty.
The second stanza belonged to Wallabys, beginning with five eighth Matt Baker dummying his way through a gap in the Brothers line to narrow the margin to four points in the 26th minute.
That was followed by Darren Martin burrowing over from dummy-half five minutes later.
A rare off night for goalkicking specialist Ron Craig left the scores locked at 12-12 at halftime.
Brothers regained their ascendancy in the third quarter, their forwards taking control and creating opportunites for the backs.
Five-eighth Clint Docherty crossed in the 44th minute followed by a spectacular long-range Platt try five minutes later after fullback James Radloff broke the Wallabys defensive line.
When Todd Martin beat three defenders to score for the Brethren three minutes later, Wallabys' cause appeared lost at 28-12 down.
Wallabys halfback Garry Brown crossed for his second try in the 57th minute to reduce the margin to 10 points but Brothers were too strong in the final quarter, posting five tries to one.
Doherty led the Brethren pack with a powerful performance while Radloff, Docherty, Ben Bultreys and Russell Groth also impressed while Craig, Brown, Baker and prop Ray Kaesiner were among Wallabys' best.
In yesterday's trials, Valleys trounced an undermanned Tannum Sands 86-8 in A grade, while Tannum Sands overpowered Valleys 40-10 in reserve grade and 39-12 in under-19s.