Rookie makes impact
A hat trick of tries to 17-year-old Justin Asse on debut capped off a dominant performance by Rockhampton Brothers as they defeated premiership heavyweights Biloela 40-20, in round 7 of the RSRL A-Grade competition at Victoria Park.
Brothers welcomed back a number of players to field their most experienced side all season, but it was the inclusion of speedster Sam Granville that had them on the front foot early. The fleet footed centre scored first for the Brethren and played a hand on two other occasions to give the home side an 18 point lead.
After a number of narrow defeats so far this season, coach Michael Jenkins could be forgiven for having doubts as to whether his side could sustain the fast tempo football and brutal defence for the full 80 minutes.
“I thought they gained a bit of momentum when they scored before halftime, but our defence was solid today. The boys really had a dig for each other,” Jenkins said.
“We’ve been pretty competitive in every game this season but haven’t quite had the resolve to close out games and get the win, so I was pretty happy we did that today.”
Despite looking quite flat in attack, the visitors managed to rally late in the first half and after an endless amount of possession crossed over through some strong running from halfback Dan Martin, to trail by 14 at the break.
But that was as close as the Panthers would get, as the home side ran rampant in the second half to extend their lead to 30 points. Hooker Kayan Davis and Fullback Hayden Buckman were both sharp in attack for the home side.
Buckman carrying his good form from the recent representative carnival in Gladstone to display a strong running game, setting up his outside men to score on a number of occasions.
Late tries to prop Dylan Eggins and a second half double to James Balnaives kept the visitors in the game, but they were merely consolation points as the Brethren chalked up their second win of the season to finally kick start their premiership defence.
In the other game the Yeppoon Seagulls climbed back to top spot on the ladder with a 52-18 victory over competition cellar dwellers Fitzroy/Gracemere.
The win puts the Seagulls in good stead ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Norths Chargers next weekend, but will have to do so without star halfback Jonathan Tavinor, as he is unavailable due to work commitments.