Brothers celebrate double

By Vince Habermann

CLAIMING the 4BU-Hitz FM Supa 11 and Under-18 Premiership double eased Brothers' pain after a disappointing A grade season.

The Brethren finished last in A grade, but grand final day was still a red-letter day for the club, downing Hervey Bay in both U-18 and Supa 11, 34-30 and 34-12 respectively.

It was their first titles in under-18/19 and Supa 11's/Reserve grade for more than a decade.

The wins also in part atoned for recent heart-breaks after Wallaroos scored a last-minute converted try to snatch victory against them in last year's under-18 grand final, and their Supa 11's side of 12 months earlier, blew a 32-10 lead with 18 minutes to go to be beaten by Across The Waves 36-32.

Under-18 coach Anthony Bonus admitted he thought it was a case of deja vu after his side surrendered a 22-6 lead late in the first half to slip behind 30-28 with 11 minutes to go.

They regained the ascendancy with centre Kurt Thompson forcing his way over under the posts for his second try with five minutes left on the clock and Bundaberg Under-18 player of the year and centre Robert Hughes converting.

But still the result hung in the balance until the final siren as the Seagulls threw everything at them in a bid to snatch the title.

"We had it in the bag, but fell asleep, before we came good again,'' Bonus said.

He lauded pocket dynamo hooker Joel Keune for a five-star performance in a "good team effort''.

"Joel was flash at times, and when we needed him to, he really showed a bit of class,'' he said.

"Matt Dent was also solid, and Robbie Hughes and Kurt Thompson were also good.''

Bonus named Gold Coast Titans signing Hughes as their player with most potential. The club will also lose Melbourne Storm recruits Thompson and five-eighth Ryan Gilbert, and Bonus also expects their Childers contingent to return to Isis when that club reforms next season.

"But hopefully guys who are here will stick by the club, there's better things in store for them,'' he said.

Supa 11's coach and club treasurer Mark Barrett said their win was extra sweet for the nine current players who were there in 2004.

"It erases 2004 from my mind and I'm just proud of what the boys stood up to which we copped,'' Barrett added.

The win was a fitting swansong for retiring club stalwart David Bond, 35, who is the only survivor from their reserve grade premiership of 1995.

"It was time - it was due,'' a teary Bond said.

"It was the first game my son Joshua (11) has ever watched and he was wearing my jersey from our 1992 victory.''

Barrett named lock Robert McKeown, who scored two tries, along with centre Chris Simons, as his Man of the Match, ahead of Nathan Moore, Bond and Ben Ralph.

It was an emotional Fathers Day title for Moore whose dad Les coached their under-18 and Supa 11 teams up to 2003, but lost his battle with cancer in July last year.

Supa 11: Brothers 34 (Simons 2, McKeown 2, Ben White, Shane Clarkson, Tim Brown tries; Mitchell Smith 3 goals) d Hervey Bay 12). U-18: Brothers 34 (Thompson 2, J Keune, Troy Sawdy, Dent, Hughes tries; Gilbert 4, Hughes goals) d Hervey Bay 30.

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