Pine Central Holy Spirit sit equal first on the Brisbane Second Division Rugby League Open 3 Northside ladder following a convincing 38-6 win over a gutsy Mitchelton Panthers at Frank Lind Oval on Saturday.
The emphatic victory for the Hornets should also be remembered for the commendable determination by the Panthers, who tossed up a gallant effort to their counterparts in a game that was dour, but provided some entertaining patches.
The Hornets creator-in-chief Trent Braun was unstoppable for the visiting team. The powerful second rower almost singlehandedly tore apart the Panthers defence throughout this game, and the playmaker crashed over for the first try of the afternoon.
In slippery conditions, the rain-soaked field was playing havoc with ball handling and a Panthers mistake inside their own half saw Hornets lock Anthony Braun scoop up the dropped ball and take two defenders over with him to increase the scoreline.
The Hornets were smelling blood in the water as Mitchelton were easily leading on the error count.
However, some scrambling defence by the hosts was the only thing that saved them from the scoreline blowing out.
Hornets Joe Chong, Trent Braun and superb fullback Tomas Ross were simply brilliant in this game.
The trio were easily the pick of the bunch in the winning side who could easily make the step up to the higher divisions.
With only seconds left on the clock in the first half, Chong nearly went in again for the Hornets only to be tackled just shy of the line with only a 12-0 scoreline separating the two sides in the rain swept conditions.
Shortly after the interval, pivot Alex Braun would join the try scorers list for the Hornets with a superb solo effort that saw him step off his right foot and nudge his way over beside the posts.
Even with a man down in the sin bin, the Panthers refused to lie down. Following a monumental amount of tackling, the home side’s willingness to put their bodies on the line for their club was incredible to watch.
Panthers Shaun Urquhart, Adrian Hartge and Ryan McDonald should take a bow. The formidable trio were left out on their feet in a tackling frenzy throughout the game.
But with the Hornets en-pointe in this game, replacement player Caleb Henare touched down under the posts, followed by impressive hooker Takai Tikinau who dummied his way over to score beside the sticks.
There was precious little attacking play to marvel at in a game dominated by tension and forward play, however Mitchelton’s first and only try of the game was a cracker.
Five-eighth Jordan Watson’s superb step off his left foot saw the clever half slide in to score much to the delight of the home crowd.
With halfback Max Gill landing a superb touchline conversion, the game was out of the Panthers reach – but the “mud n blood” were now playing for pride.
More manful defence by the home side kept Holy Spirit at bay, however the indestructible Henare again smashed his way through some tired Panthers players to go in and score the easiest of tries and seal an impressive victory for the competition leaders.
Final score: Pine Central Holy Spirit 38 Mitchelton Panthers 6