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Moreton Bay defy surging Brethren to book grand final berth

Moreton Bay Raiders booked themselves a spot in this year’s Intech Men’s Open 3 Northside grand final with a gritty 22-18 win over Brothers at Alan Cash Oval, Samford.

The Raiders were men on a mission using their experienced players and huge forward pack to overcome a Brothers side who never gave up.

After the softening up period, it was the Leprechauns who struck first in the ninth minute when speedy winger James Hedger sprinted down the sideline to score in the corner.

However, the momentum started to swing the way of the Raiders after some punishing defence led by Aaron Haley (who has been sensational all season), the experienced Aaron Brown and Val Faámoe - who were punching holes in the Brothers defence.

This led to some good field position and in the 16th minute, the Raiders finally got on the board courtesy of Jarrod Eaton who latched onto a grubber kick to dive over and score beside the posts.

The Raiders big men started to lay the platform for their next try after a solid run by barnstorming prop Haley, seeing the burly forward cut down inches from the line.

The next play saw Cameron Rodgers-Falk scoot past the Brothers defence to nudge his way over in the corner.

Brothers then cut loose themselves with clever halfback Andrew Searle and his halves partner Ivan Lynch trying to steady the ship but were being smothered by the Raiders pack.

On the stroke of half-time, former Intrust Super Cup player Cameron Joyce used his experience to sneak over for a try before the siren to further increase the scoreline.

Joyce landed the tricky conversion from the sideline to see the Raiders head into the sheds at the break leading 14-6.

Brothers came out a more rejuvenated side in the second half and their forward pack stepped it up a gear to match it with the Raiders big men.

Connor Smith and Jason Hedger were superb for the fish, aiming up in the early stages of the second stanza muscling up in defence.

Brothers in action. Photo: Mike Simpson
Brothers in action. Photo: Mike Simpson

This then paved the way for the Brethren to score first after the break when James Hedger caught the Raiders napping and touched down out-wide for his second try of the afternoon.

After a melee broke out, both sides were reduced to 12 men after emotions were running high with so much at stake.

The turning point in the game came through the Raiders next try.

Halfback Joyce used his invaluable experience yet again to set up the next try with a no look pass that found Brown in support, who crashed his way over to score beside the sticks.

However, the Leprechauns were not done yet and through the vision of five-eighth Lynch, lobbing a pass up to front rower Mitchell McSween, who was too big and strong to barge his way over beside the posts.

With Searle adding the howler sideline conversion, the scores were locked up at 18-18.

The Raiders were then dealt a blow with a man sent off and although down to 11 players, somehow pulled a rabbit out of their hat.

Joyce, the magician, threw a superb cut out pass to find Rodgers-Falk, who scored the winning try for the Raiders in what was a pulsating game of rugby league.

They'll face the winner of Brothers and Norths St Joseph's in a fortnight.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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