THEY were battered, bruised and at full-time down to one bench player apiece.
The Rockhampton Brothers and Gladstone Brothers clash at Victoria Park was a brutal affair. For 60 minutes the sides toiled away, before the home side applied the blowtorch, scoring five tries in the final 20 minutes to record a 44-10 victory.
Gladstone's centre, Jackson McEwan, said their opponent was one of the competition benchmarks. "Rocky are a good side. I think they and Yeppoon (Seagulls) are at the top at the moment, but we are looking forward to taking them on in Gladstone," McEwan said. "I thought we were a bit weak in the middle, and once we pushed in they had too much speed out wide; And good halves to get on the outside.
"It was a tough game. First half I thought we were in it. We defended a lot, and then in the last 20 minutes of the second half the score blew out. Just fitness I think. Silly errors, like offloads in our half cost us. Little things like that which are definitely things you can fix which is good." Gladstone captain Josh Bateman bravely returned to the field heavily strapped, with six stitches in a cheek wound after a head clash from friendly fire. Rockhampton halfback Jacob Langdon admitted the scoreboard didn't reflect the closeness of the match, which at one stage was just an eight point deficit.
"Good tough game, the scoreboard probably didn't justify it, and we got away in the end. But our fitness and defence really come over the top. After our big boys worked through the guts and laid that platform, the flash blokes out the back finished it off. We are going to be sore tomorrow. There were some big hits and they were tough.
"It is a hard game for them to come up here and play."
With troops falling by the wayside including captain and hooker Tommy Simpson, backup rake Grant Rogers starred.
A GRADE RUGBY RESULTS
Rockhampton Brothers 44 d Gladstone Brothers 10