Brothers defeat Easts in final
A JUBLIANT Brothers celebrated a hard-earned BRL A-grade premiership last night, wiping away the memories of defeat on the corresponding day last year.
Their 23-14 victory was built on some watertight defence and sustained pressure on an Easts outfit that were not willing to surrender.
Former Easts player Aaron Watson opened Brothers account early in the first half, slicing through the Easts big men and under the posts.
His man-of-the-match effort was hard to ignore, while the clutch moment came in the 60th minute when Mat Templeman scooped up a loose Easts pass and raced 80m to give the Brethren a 12-point lead.
Until that moment the Magpies had worked hard to give themselves a chance, but player-coach Josh Garden acknowledged that the error was a match-defining one.
“We had them on the back foot, but that error came and Tempo (Templeman) hurt us,” he said.
The rookie coach was ready to drown his sorrows, but was proud nonetheless.
“(We’re) happy to have made it this far even if it’s a bit devastating now,” he said.
“I think we’ve all learned alot this year and I’ve learned a bit about myself as well.”
Celebrated Brothers captain Cameron Ricciardi found it hard to put into words how he felt after the win, but said the sense of relief he had after losing last year was overwhelming.
“You can’t compare the feeling (from this year to last),” he said.
“We knew we could beat every team in the competition and now we’ve proved it. It was a win created by 17 guys just putting it all in on the park.”
Brothers took a 14-4 lead into half-time, and were without five-eighth Steve Irwin for the first 10 minutes of the second stanza after he was sin-binned.
But Easts could not exploit the opportunity and it was Brothers who kicked a penalty goal and extended the lead before Irwin returned to the field.
Some Matty Tanner brilliance helped Easts back into the contest shortly after.
First a try of his own then a superb piece of play down the right flank to set up Willi Nagas showcased just how dangerous he can be.
But that’s when Templeman got his name on the scoresheet and despite a late try to James Scott, Brothers held on to their lead and rejoiced when Ricciardi held the trophy aloft.