If you haven’t been to a Brisbane XXXX Second Division game before, then you are sadly missing out.
If the standard of Saturday’s game between Aspley vs Gaters was anything to go by, this was a clear message sent out that this competition is evolving. The undefeated Aspley were torn apart 10-4 by a ruthless Gaters side that needed to win to stay in touch for the race to the finals and ended Aspley’s dominance giving the Devils their first loss of the season.
Hands down this was the game of the season. With a massive vocal crowd in attendance, you could feel the electricity around the ground as both sets of supporters came out in force in the absolutely atrocious conditions to cheer on their heroes.
With Aspley’s ground ankle deep in water and resembling a mud bath, it was evident from the outset that Gaters were here for one thing and one thing only and didn’t they produce the goods.
In the opening exchanges it was gang tackle central as the Gaters were coming in hitting like brick walls and were like a hungry pack of wolves with three and four in defence. Aspley had no answer in what was happening and could not find any composure as the Gaters came at them in droves.
However it was the Devils who started the scoring and in the 24th minute when the Aspley centre crossed out wide after some poor ball handling by Gaters.
In weather most players would probably want to forget, the dropped ball by both sides was surprisingly kept to a minimum as attack was superseded by defence and both sides were still ferociously tackling with venom.
The sting from the Gaters defence certainly left their mark on some of the Apsley players as the wounded were taken off from the sheer brutality of the massive hits in defence. Although Gaters were clinching the upper hand, it was left to ball playing five-eighth Trent Williamson to steer the Devils back on course and his kicking game was exceptional in the wet.
He was turning the Gaters defence around, but he also had lock Cody Herrington and Michael Grady behind him leading the charge with some big hits in defence as well.
Gaters finally got on the scoresheet when inspirational halfback James Crawford chipped a kick for his winger Cameron Woodgate who caught the ball and crossed in the corner. Brent Boyd failed with the difficult conversion and it was a tied ball game at 4-4.
With Aspley trying to take charge of the game on home soil and with one minute left before halftime, they started to throw the ball around, but a misfired pass from Williamson saw Gaters representative player Brent Boyd intercept the pass and race 70m in what would have been a stellar try in front of the bumper crowd, but astonishingly dropped the ball over the line which resulted in a no try. The score remained at 4-4.
In the second half it was still both sides going at each other hammer and tong and for Gaters easily best defensive forward Mick Smith was joined by Matt Murray, Dan Harms and Michael Timmins who were punishing throughout the game. It was however the astute marshalling of his troops by James Junior Crawford and the brilliant kicking game of Boyd that held the Gaters in good stead.
This game now was about field position and both Williamson for Aspley and Boyd for Gaters were constantly turning the defence around to play wet weather football in the oppositions half. Players from both sides were nearly at exhaustion point from the sheer pace of this game, but the persistence from Gaters paid off when five-eighth Boyd was the star of the show again when he sent in second rower Chris Moriarty under the posts.
With Boyd adding the extras it was Gaters who had hit the lead and could sniff a victory late in the game 10-4. With time ticking away, Aspley with a depleted side through injuries, showed courage under fire and still had enough petrol in the tank to keep plugging away with some massive defence, but the Gaters didn’t panic and held on beating the undefeated Devils and seemingly living proof that some teams really do get a fairytale ending.