Carina proved to be too classy against a spirited Arana Hills side in the Brisbane Second Division Premier Grade competition at Leo Williams Oval.
Brisbane Representative player Matt Craven again continued his fine form this season, with a standout performance for the Tigers that included two sensational tries. Craven’s ability to turn a match with his explosive speed and remarkable kicking game proved to be invaluable and saw the home side notch up a much-needed two points.
Given the fact that Arana Hills are sitting on the table in last place, the Panthers can hold their heads high as they dished out some punishing defence that saw the Tigers take them very seriously.
Carina opened the scoring with a brilliant try to halfback John Borland following a great break by the Tigers up field. Borland was instrumental in side stepping his way to the try line to go over the whitewash.
The conversion was beautifully converted by Craven to see the Tigers leading 6-0.
The Panthers responded with a slashing try to their fullback who zipped his way under the Tigers defence to go in untouched beside the posts.
However determination by hardworking forward Dan Smith for the Tigers saw the burly second rower crashed his way through some very ordinary Panthers defence to score beside the sticks.
Carina further extended their lead with a precision cross-field kick by half Borland who found Matt Craven outwide who leapt high to collect the ball and plant it down to score in the corner.
Craven extended the lead further with an absolute cracking sideline conversion to give the Tigers a healthy 18-4 lead.
Arana Hills did not look like caving in under pressure though and upped the tempo with some great yards up the middle that would see second row forward Joel Van Miltenburg stroll in beside the posts with some lacklustre Tigers defence.
Super boot Jesse Anderson made no mistake with the easy conversion.
Right on the stroke of halftime, Tigers replacement player Stuart Hayes forced his way over from close range that left a trail of destruction as he bustled his way through the Panthers defensive line.
Craven missed the easy shot at goal saw the Tigers take a comfortable lead at the break 22-10.
In absolute miserable conditions, the second half had turned bleak, cold and wet. Players from both sides however still were producing some high-end rugby league for the hardy souls that braved the elements and they did not disappoint.
It was the Craven solo show once again as Carina were first to go over in the torrential rain. A bustling run my Miltenburg saw him offload a brilliant pass that saw Craven put on the afterburners and score under the posts in a runaway try.
Craven slotted his own conversion to see the Tigers now in a commanding 28-10 lead.
Stuart Hayes would again prove to be a hero in front of his home supporters with another great solo try. His strong willed character on the field proved invaluable to the Tigers as he was a handful at close range for the tiring Panthers pack.
Some slack defending by the Tigers would prove costly as the Panthers had ramped up their attacking skills that saw them quickly march inside the Tigers red zone. Robbie Lane showed some fancy footwork to go in for the visitors to score a great try.
Anderson landed the conversion to see the Panthers trailing 34-16.
Back-to-back tries to the Panthers saw them making a last ditch effort to claw their way back into the match and after a move that saw the ball move through eight sets of hands saw the try of the match in the dying stages.
With Anderson unable to land the conversion, the Panthers had two minutes left on the clock to regain some pride.
But just as Arana had found their second wind, Tigers lock Ben Wilson slotted over a wobbly field goal in poor visibility to see the Tigers run out 35-20 winners over a gutsy Arana Hills.