Brother Seery Park hosted a thrilling match between Brothers and West End Bulldogs in the Ipswich Rugby League Mayor Paul Pisasale A-Grade Cup on Saturday.
Brothers defeated West End 26-20 in a match that had it all; big hits, spectacular tries and an enthralling finish.
The tone for the match was set early when both teams scored tries in the opening 10 minutes.
Brothers scored first when centre Tasi Graff finished a well-executed play six minutes into the match.
West End were quick to respond, forcing a Brothers’ error to gain prime attacking field position which allowed Bulldogs hooker Jerome Easthope to score a try, levelling the scores at 4-all in the ninth minute.
In a free-flowing first-half West End consistently looked threatening but it was Brothers who made the most of their opportunities.
In the 14th minute Brothers fullback Shane Gibson put the Brethren back in front when he picked up a loose ball and raced over the line to score before converting his own try for Brothers to take a 10-4 lead.
With only minutes remaining until half-time West End made a break down the sideline and looked likely to score before desperate Brothers cover-defence knocked the Bulldogs attacker into touch.
After regaining possession through great cover-defence Brothers kicked a 40/20 in the following set.
The Brethren made the most of the 40/20 when Tasi Graff scored from a well-constructed backline play to extended Brothers’ lead to 14-4 at halftime.
Two minutes after halftime Ryan Sheppard scored under the posts for West End before Fili Notoa converted the try to bring the game down to a 4-point margin at 14-10.
The Brethren began to control the match and when tries to Matt Bell and Josh Leisemann extended Brothers’ lead to 26-10 it looked like there was no way back into the match for West End.
West End did not see it that way though, lifting to another level in a desperate attempt to fight their way back into the match.
In the 61st minute West End halfback Reece Sandy put in a short kick near Brothers’ try-line before regathering the ball from a Brothers error and scoring a try which was converted by Fili Notoa to take the score line back down to a 10-point margin at 26-16.
Only four minutes later Brook Alofipo scored again for West End to cut the margin even further.
With only 10 minutes remaining and Brothers leading West End 26-20 the match was set for a thrilling conclusion.
Brothers were less than 10 metres away from their own try-line when they were forced into an error which gave West End perfect field position to start a set.
Brothers remained composed in defence and kept West End out before getting a relieving penalty to get them out of their own territory.
West End got the ball back with less than one minute remaining and had to go almost the full length of the field to level the scores.
The Bulldogs marched their way down-field and got into Brothers’ 20 metre zone for the last-play of the match.
West End put a cross-field grubber kick into Brothers in-goal area as the clock wound down the final seconds of the match.
With both West End and Brothers players launching themselves at the ball it was a lottery as to who would get to the ball first.
The West End outside backs got to the ball first but as the siren sounded the referee ruled that they had knocked the ball on rather than grounded it.
It was frustration for West End coming so close to having the opportunity to level the scores on fulltime but it was elation for Brothers who ran out winners 26-20.
In the other Ipswich Rugby League Mayor Paul Pisasale A-Grade Cup round 8 games, Goodna defeated Swifts 34-20 and Norths defeated Fassifern 26-12.