Prior to the kick off in the Premier grade match between Brighton Roosters and Albany Creek Gaters, both teams joined in unison in the middle of the pitch to pause for a minute’s silence in the “It Aint Weak to Speak” trophy.
This was an amazing gesture by both clubs to honour the lives lost through suicide due to depression and was certainly well received by the huge crowd on hand.
One thing can be said about the local derbies between these two sides is that both clubs definitely put on a show.
This was clearly an important game for Brighton who are now outright first on the ladder, running out winners 32-26.
In saying this, the Gaters were coming into this game with a new coach in Shane Rout and a new attitude that was admirable to watch.
The third minute of the match saw points scored after a bone-jarring opening two minutes with Roosters centre Kainga Turner collecting a neat ball from Brent Boyd to go over in the corner.
Not to be outdone, Gaters hit back in the 10th minute after a break by fullback Roddy Faapito found centre Richie Anae who crossed in the corner to see the visitors on the scoreboard.
But with defence outgunning attack, the incredible ferocity from both forward packs was brutal.
Gaters big men in Thomas Ata-Tofa, Junior Peni and Thomas Ata-TofaThomas Ata-Tofa Michael Brown were damaging, whilst Brighton’s Taio Rio, Sione Fekau and unsung hero Etiveni Uhatafe were best on ground for the home side.
However, this is where Brighton’s gun fullback Robert Kennedy came into his own and the representative player stepped inside some would be tacklers to score beside the sticks.
Kennedy was absolutely outstanding for the Roosters in both attack and defence and was by far the best player on the field in the game.
Underrated Roosters second rower Kyle Raz and Gater Peni would both go in to score quick tries to see the sides go into the break at 16-16 in what was a pulsating first half.
With coach Nathan Hughes making some important positional changes, Brighton came out in the second half a rejuvenated side.
Back-to-back tries from Mr Reliable Junior Crawford and a double to centre Turner saw the home side stretch out to a 26-16 lead early on.
With both sides still going toe-to-toe up the middle, there was no room for error, with Roosters Rio and Fekau still causing mayhem and Gaters Ata-Tofa holding his own in an epic battle between the forward packs.
But again, with the momentum now shifting back to the visitors, Gaters powerhouse five-eighth Arthur Brown produced a barnstorming run which saw the highly skilled pivot crash in under the sticks to see the scoreline read 26-22.
The game was set for a tantalising showdown in the closing stages and again the brilliance of Kennedy was key after he burst through a gap to find half Gavin Causer and the halfback found centre Turner again to see the experienced three-quarter cross beside the posts making it 32-22.
With only two minutes left on the clock, Gater Arthur Brown produced some individual brilliance with a pin-point cross-field kick to find Matt Dunphy unmarked and the speedy winger easily planted the ball down in the corner to score.
But as the seconds clicked away, it was all too late for Gaters as Brighton collected the trophy in one of the most moving and entertaining games seen all season.
Final Score: Brighton Roosters 32 Albany Creek Gaters 26