BROTHERS WANT ANOTHER CRACK AT SOUTHCITY
By Les Muir
BROTHERS coach Terry Westblade was reaching for the stars after the Brethren outlasted Temora 22-16 at McDonald’s Park on Sunday.
Rebounding from a surprise 24-18 loss to Tumbarumba a week ago, Brothers scored the only three tries of the first half before surviving an unconvincing Temora recovery in the second half.
Up 16-0 at halftime, the Brethren were outscored 16-6 in the second term, but still never looked seriously threatened.
As Temora captain-coach Grant Boyd later searched for solace in a “very disappointing” result, Westblade was taking aim at some of the gun teams in the premiership.
“I’m looking forward to the boys playing the top sides again,” Westblade said.
“I sort of came in on the back of end Southcity and Gundagai, the top notch sides.
“Hopefully we’ve now got enough structure in system to at least compete.
“We’ll see how we go.”
Westblade was appointed following the sacking of Ben Black on May 8 and was only feeling his way when Brothers were thrashed 42-16 by Southcity and 46-10 by Gundagai in successive games.
With seven rounds to go, Brothers will sidestep a return bout with Gundagai, but will be able to test their mettle against Young (July 30) and Southcity (August 12).
For Westblade, Brothers third win in 10 games was a positive pointer to the future.
“We’re a long way from being really good, but there are some really good kids in the team,” he said.
“I think that’s what we’re probably striving for is for – those kids to become first graders.
Despite playing without possession and field position in the first half, Brothers were able to dominate the first half and set up their victory.
Creative Aaron Wynne was instrumental in the Wagga team surging to a 16-0 advantage.
Wynne laid on the opening two tries for Peter Little (11th minute) and Cade Price (19th) respectively with dazzling footwork and strength and floated an immaculate pass for winger Harold Kirby to flash over in the hill corner in the 37th minute.
Brothers flying start was in bitter contrast to Temora, who just frittered chances and looked in disarray.
And that’s exactly how the Dragons started out, according to Boyd.
“We had a few injuries coming into today and we really only had the team picked before the game,” Boyd lamented.
Amid the chaos,Temora struggled to capitalise on their opportunities in the first half, squandering at least four prime scoring shots.
“We kept blowing them,” Boyd said.
“It was one of those days. I’m spewing.
“I just don’t know ... we’re not consistent at all.
“On our day we’re good and ....”
Responding to Boyd, however, the Dragons did mount a revival after the break, scoring three tries to Brothers one.
The Dragons trailed 22-6 midway through the second half and gained some scoreboard traction with tries to Taylor Krause (66th minute) and Aka Matapo (77th).
In the end it was just too little, too late.
Pondering the outcome, Westblade stressed Brothers need to find a player with “vision.”
“‘We’re having a lot of trouble spotting spaces,” he said.
“We don’t have a lot of really good readers of the play who know where to put the football; where it should be.”
Wynne and Little did their best to get things moving, while Brayden Sharrock, Connor McCauley and James Hay made good headway with the ball.
Yet again, Cade Price was in dynamic touch and is rivalling Tristan Dickson as the most exciting speedster in the competition.
On the other side of the fence, Temora lacked genuine drive, but Hayden Philp, Gavin Kite and Krause tried hard.
BROTHERS 22 (C Price, H Kirby, P Little, C McCauley tries; H Kirby 3 goals) d TEMORA 16 (A Matapo, H Phlip, T Krause tries; T Krause 2 goals) at McDonald’s Park. Scrums: 5-4. Penalties: 6-8. Referee: Sean Skeers
TUMUT 40 (M Esera 2, R Luke 2, A Pearce, J McGrath, B Draber tries; J Toppin 5, R Luke goals) d JUNEE 26 (D Foley 2, T Charlton, M Sutton, M Hands tries; M Hands 3 goals) at Twickenham. Gate: $2700
YOUNG 26 (T Bush, N Freeman, A Slater, H Cowled, T Samoa tries; R Talimalie 3 goals) drew with SOUTHCITY 26 (J Greenway, S Tracey, K McCarthy, N Skinner, M Curran tries; K McCarthy 3 goals) at Alfred Oval
GUNDAGAI 76 (D O’Hehir 3, D Willis 3, T Gorman 2, N Fotu 2, D Cole, J Smart, C Woo, L Berkrey tries; J Smart 10 goals) d COOTAMUNDRA 12 (J Smith, P Cameron tries; M Forsyth 2 goals) at Les Boyd Oval. Scrums: 9-2. Penalties: 6-3. Referee: Shane Bartlett
ALBURY 30 (D Jacobs 2, D Johnson 2, T King, B Meehan tries; D Jacobs 3 goals) d TUMBARUMBA 18 (K Hammond 2, N, Tema, K Nadaro tries; K Hammond goal) at Greenfield Park