Brothers and Panthers to pounce
SECOND place is up for grabs tomorrow night at Biloela on the GDRL ladder, as Brothers confront a confident Panthers side with few deficiencies.
Brothers coach Mick Cartwright knows his team has its work cut out, but he’s proud of the way they never throw in the towel.
"It’ll be tough for us…they’re coming off a good win against Tannum," Cartwright said.
"To the credit the boys hung in there last week (against Wallabys) when they could’ve put the cue in the rack, and considering the fellas we had out it was a real good effort."
Last time the teams met at Marley Brown Oval, it was Brothers prevailing by 10 points, but the game sat at 18-all with 10 minutes to go. Chris Stolk and Karl Johnson were probably the difference that day, and they’ll have to be on their mettle if Brothers are to put up a good fight.
"They weren’t flash but they did all the little things right and it took us awhile to crack ‘em," Cartwright said.
"I’d expect more of the same and we have to match it with them in the discipline department." Brothers have a few injury concerns, with captain Dean Jones, Gerard Tema and Jarred Johnson out of the team, as well as Nathan Chapman who recently returned to the side. Brad Green returns and Cartwright will be looking to him as well as Stolk and co to lead the way.
Winning against the Panthers on their home deck isn’t easy, and only Tannum Sands have come away with two points this year, while Wallabys drew.
Cartwright said goal line defence needed to improve, as Brothers had been a bit vulnerable in that part of the ground. So retaining second position is going to come down to minimising mistakes and grasping opportunities.
"We don’t want to give them any cheap ball, we need to have a good kicking game and keep it nice and basic," he said.
"I don’t think we’ve had the same team on the park for two weeks running, so it’s been hard to introduce new plays.
"When you lose a winger or centre, you can work around it, but when you lose a half, or five eight or hooker, it’s hard to change things."
The Panthers are fresh off a big win against the Seagulls and will fancy their chances of victory.
Panthers president Don Balnaves said a win would put Biloela in a position they hadn’t occupied for a long time in the GDRL at this time of the year.
"If they play the way they did against Tannum Sands, they’ll be in with a big chance," he said.
"The boys stuck to the structure and the game plan for most of the game and almost executed it to perfection."
It’ll be the familiar cast of Dave Thomas, Josh Adonarto and Pete Rogers who will form the backbone of the Panthers side and Brothers will have to quell the trio if they’re to win, but with the playing group gelling so well, it’ll be no easy task.
"There wasn’t a weak player on the field last week," Balnaves said.
Panthers coach Graham Middlebrook doesn't expect a high scoring match, but one that's very competitive.
"They're always clincial and don't give you many opportunities; they still one of the sides to beat," he said.
Panthers players are starting to understand their roles in the team and carrying out what they need to within the team structure, Middlebrook said.
Matches start at 5 and 6.30pm.