Devils take win and get ready for title showdown
SEMI-final rugby league is tougher, faster and more demanding than most other sports, and at the weekend Brothers and Isis handled the pressure with gritty wins at Salter Oval.
Brothers defeated Wests 38–10 to advance to a major semi-final against Hervey Bay, and Isis ended Wallaroos’ season with a 44–16 flogging.
It was clear from the opening whistle that Wests had brought their traditional hard-hitting style of defence and there were some sore bodies in the Brothers camp, but captain-coach Mat Templeman was impressed with the way his players stood up to the test.
He said the 28-point win came through a complete team effort that made it hard to pick out any players for special mention.
“We completed our sets and the defence was massive – it was the biggest defensive effort all year from the boys,” Templeman said.
“Everybody was good right across the park.”
Isis coach Simon Ricciardi echoed Templeman’s comments about Brothers when he spoke of his own team.
Ricciardi said the first half was the best by Isis all season, and he, too, could not single out any player from number 1 to 17.
Isis battled through a broken preparation, with players being unavailable for training because of work commitments and injury, but the Devils managed to pull it together when the season was on the line.
Zac Dann and Tim Cole were two of the best for Isis, but Ricciardi spread praise across the team.
Brothers have the tough task of playing Hervey Bay for a spot in the grand final, and Templeman knows the players will have to lift again.
The Seagulls will be coming off a two-week break, and that fact could hurt them, but Templeman isn’t taking the game lightly.
“We need to get out there with the same mentality this week to have a chance,” he said.
“Hervey Bay has a big forward pack and skilful backs. We’ll need to bring the same defensive mindset.”
Isis will face a Wests team intent on playing more games in the finals, and Ricciardi wants his players to get back to the kind of form that saw them play in the 2014 grand final.
Isis plays Wests at 1.50pm and Brothers take on Hervey Bay at 3.30pm in not-to-be-missed clashes.