Second-half struggle costs gallant Goats
RUGBY UNION: Gladstone's remarkable run towards the Capricornia Rugby premiership came to an end at the weekend courtesy of a 42-15 loss against a slick Brothers side.
The Goats were firmly in the contest trailing 11-8 at half-time, but a disappointing second half consigned Gladstone to successive defeats at the preliminary final stage after bowing out in the corresponding fixture last season.
After both sides traded early penalties, Brothers crossed the line with an unconverted try before the Goats responded through fullback David West.
Another Brothers penalty had the home side leading by three at the break.
The second half started in promising fashion for the visitors, with the Goats behind 16-15 during the early stages.
However, the tide began to turn when Gladstone had a player sin-binned for rushing into a melee, constituting an automatic yellow card.
Brothers ran in five unanswered tries after that point with the Goats struggling to gain any meaningful possession.
It was that lack of possession which cruelled Gladstone's chances, according to assistant coach Jonathon Dalton.
"We didn't get any possession in the second half and they had the ball and with the ball you'll get the win,” Dalton said.
"We missed a few opportunities in the first half where we could have put more pressure on them transitioning into the second half but it wasn't to be.
"Their defence was good enough to keep us out. I think we left a few tries out there in the first half, but we really weren't in the game during the second half.”
Having won five out of their past seven games prior to the preliminary final, Dalton said Gladstone's confidence in mounting a comeback didn't waiver, but Brothers were just too strong on the day.
"We've been coming home strong during the second half in the back end of the season, so we were confident we could come away with it,” he said.
"But Brothers had more intensity and they put their foot on the gas and we didn't really respond.”
Brothers 42 (N Watson 2, M Hartley 2, R Mertin, A Campbell tries; B Fourie 3 cons, 2 pens) defeated Gladstone Goats 15 (David West 2 tries; David West con, pen) at Victoria Park, Rockhampton.