Cairns Brothers triumph with a man down
NOT even playing a man down for 60 minutes could stop defending Cairns District Rugby League premiers Brothers re-establishing their dominance with a comfortable 38-12 victory over Tully at Stan Williams Park yesterday.
After losing their first game of the season to Edmonton the previous week, Brothers were always going to be a daunting prospect for the Tigers.
The home team started as expected, racing to a 14-0 lead after 12 minutes
before Tigers forward Curtis Nehow opened his side’s account.
The Tigers were denied a second try by the touch judge’s flag soon after before Brothers were reduced to 12 men in bizarre circumstances.
Brothers forward Peter Falefitu was originally sin-binned for striking before he backchatted the referee as he left the field.
Falefitu was then called back by the referee to answer for his comments but kept on walking to the sheds.
The prop was subsequently sent off for ignoring the referee’s order to return, but Falefitu emerged from the clubhouse a few minutes later claiming he didn’t hear the calls to come back.
But the send-off decision stood, leaving Brothers a man short in the middle of the park.
The Tigers, however, couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage, with their execution not precise enough to find the unmarked player.
Anyone who couldn’t count would have sworn it was Brothers with the extra man the way the ladder leaders continually created space.
Queensland under-18s representative PJ Webb scored next for Brothers before teammate Andreas Nona produced a beautiful step to leave the cover defence grasping on his run to the try line.
The home team led 24-6 at halftime and all but sealed their win when halfback Nathan Kepa sprinted down the right touchline to score with 23 minutes to go.
Anthony Satrick and Nona both crossed late for Brothers before Shane Flemming scored a consolation try for the Tigers.
Brothers player-coach Robbie Swain said his team’s structure allowed them to cover Falefitu’s absence.
"It was always going to be a tough game. Twelve men didn’t make it easier, but it was a good lung opener for the boys and a good test of character to get the game with one less," he said.
"Our structure is pretty well set. The guys know where they have to be.
"When you’re one player short someone else just has to slot in. You’ll be one short somewhere along the line, but the initial structure we have means anyone can slot in anywhere."
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Late cross: Anthony Satrick makes an effort to wriggle free as Brothers went on a try-scoring spree against Tully yesterday. Pictures: MIKE WATT