Gladiators draw against premiers
GAYNDAH Gladiators went back to fundamentals to take the fight to the heavily favoured Monto Roos.
Despite drawing 20-all, it felt like a win for the Gladiators against last year’s premiers after a season full of heavy losses.
The home-ground match for the Gladiators began with Damien Carter’s bold prediction.
“We’re going to win. Our strategy is to beat them,” Carter said.
Captain Jaybin Pearce laid out the plan to exploit the Roos’ weaknesses in the wings, and to counter their strong upper middle with defence and attack.
“We need to hold the ball, complete our sets, and back up our sets with good defence,” Pearce said.
It all went according to plan for the Gladiators in the first half and they went to the break 10-all.
Coach Russell Kenny was quietly excited with his team’s performance.
“It’s the best we’ve played all year,” Kenny said.
“It’s the first time with a full side, but one of our fellas (second row Ben Berrie) is out.”
Ben Berrie was not the only player to be sidelined during the match.
Monto Roos’ Louis Benecke, just returned after a hamstring injury, came off to be strapped in the second half, while centre James Dederer “went in for a tackle and rolled my ankle”.
The three were keen to be match-fit for next week’s games.
Going into the second half, Roos president Scott Pattie talked of their “disappointing” start.
“It was coming together in the last 20 minutes,” Pattie said.
“We got the upper hand, the forwards were on a roll through the middle, and we got a couple of tries.”
To win, Pattie said, the Roos needed “a bit more of the last 20 minutes” – dominant forwards, the backs to finish off and support play for the big boys.
While the Roos put their backs and bodies into the game, the Gladiators remained aggressive to force a 20-all draw.
Coach Kenny summed up the joy in four words: “We’re happy with that.”
Roos manager Damien Zieth paid tribute with “that was the Gladiator’s best game in four years”.
The crowd hushed as the final score for Mundubbera’s 42-22 defeat of Theodore was announced.
Mundubbera should be at the top of the table, while, despite the draw, Gayndah remains at the bottom.
Next week stay tuned for the battle between Monto and Theodore for second place going into the finals.
THE MIGHTY FALL: Monto Roo Tyson Dahtler is brought down by a Gayndah Gladiator at Gayndah.