It was a case of David versus Goliath as top-placed Brothers Juniors brushed aside Murri Taipans 52-16 in the Open 1 Northside competition played at Jim Lawrie Oval, Brighton, on Saturday.
Brothers sit comfortably in equal first with Dayboro Cowboys and were too good for an outclassed Taipans, who – to their credit- showed a lot of heart against the high-flying Brethren.
Even though the Taipans were outplayed, their first try was a cracker through Isaac Large who burst through a yawning gap and stepped off his right foot to cross beside the sticks.
But there was little to suggest in the opening forays who looked the better side. The Brethren’s slick backline returned serve not two minutes later with their first try through Rhett Webster, who chose to back his own pace to score under the posts.
From here it was all one-way traffic for the visitors as the Taipans looked sluggish from the outset. Brother’s outstanding halfback, Shane Goddard, wasted no time in going in again for the Butcher Stripes as he slid in under some brittle Taipans defence in a brilliant solo effort.
The Taipans, however, were forced into a reshuffle of their pack, to stop the Leprechauns’ assault, but it made no difference to Brothers replacement player Sam Fall, who was sensational off the bench and he charged his way through the Taipans defence to plant the ball down.
Made to work
With Taipans five-eighth Ansone Tovi, hooker Connor McKenzie and fullback Daemon Hancock running the show for the home side, Brothers were made to work in patches for their next points through hooker Ben Donaldson. The nuggety rake eventually cracked the Taipans on their own tryline as he lunged over from dummy-half to increase the scoreline to 22-6.
A penalty 20m out from the Taipans line just before the hooter, saw the Leprechaun’s stage a nice set play that eventually saw five-eighth Trent Corley combine with Webster to go in on the bell and have the visitors leading 28-6.
The angst of Taipans coach Dylan Slater, from opportunities lost through some feeble defence in the first half, was soon eased as the Taipans were first to cross in the second half through five eighth Tovi. The outstanding half was the Taipans’ best player, sparking a mini-revival.
But again poor last-option plays and some tired-looking forwards were no match for the Open 1 Northside heavyweights, as Brothers winger Sam Bandiera would use his strength to power over in the corner to score.
Brothers continued to forge ahead and as Goddard was still terrorising the big Taipans forwards with his flashy footwork, he would eventually see open space to go in to score his second try of the afternoon.
Another two explosive tries to Fall off the bench was a nice sweetener for the towering backrower, as he finished with a hat-trick that showed why he is a valuable addition to any team.
With Brethren winger Bandiera also notching a double out wide, the contest was all but over as the visitors racked up the half century and centre James Bannerman landed a terrific sideline conversion to put the result to bed.
But the Murri supporters were in for a treat, as the home side went down fighting. In the dying minutes they crossed one last time through Justin Williams, but it was all too late as the Fighting Irish collected the points and continue their dominance in what is a hotly contested competition.
Final score: Brothers Juniors 52 def Murri Taipans 16.