A strong defensive display by Mitchelton Panthers helped them secure a 22-4 win over arch-rivals Arana Hills at Kev McKell Oval on Saturday.
The rivalry round clash lived up to its name with two of Brisbane’s most iconic clubs going at each other in a good old-fashioned slugfest in Northside Division 1 action.
Mitchelton’s near impenetrable defence was clearly the standout from this game, superbly led by Conor Morrissy who was hands down best player on the park.
Mitchelton’s attack however was also outstanding, and they wasted no time stamping their authority in this department either.
Winger Dane Adams collected a brilliant pass from USA international Kristian Freed who crossed over in the corner early in the contest.
The dream start for Mitchelton got even better when powerful centre Petia Vui made a mockery of Arana Hills defence and scored their second try with a rampaging run up the middle to cross beside the sticks.
Conor Morrissy, who would have easily scored a perfect 10/10 in the old Rugby League Week ratings, crossed for a well deserved try after running a nice angle to go in for Mitchelton yet again, pegging the score out to 18-0.
Arana Hills were holding on for dear life at this stage of the game, however notable mentions must go to Clinton Kerei and Tarun Schefe who bravely put their bodies on the line for the entirety of this match.
One last try before the siren to Mitchelton’s underrated Hayden Potter capped a remarkable first half and gave the visitors a solid 22-0 lead.
Arana Hills regrouped at the break and entered the fray for the second half with a rejuvenated presence on the field.
The home side was unlucky not to score on multiple occasions, but they were met with a bone jarring defensive wall from Mitchelton who were determined in heeding off a comeback.
Mitchelton’s Morrissy, Sam Jennings and Matt Smith put on a master class in defence from start to finish which didn’t go unnoticed by the crowd.
A late lapse in concentration was the only blemish for Mitchelton, as the home side crossed with nine minutes to go to register their first points for the game.
A wayward conversion followed which saw Mitchelton hang on to win a good contest between two of Brisbane’s most passionate rugby league clubs.
* Mike Simpson is the Rugby League Brisbane correspondent for the QRL