Lions keen to feast on Brothers in sea­son fi­nale

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON

THE War­riors have fallen 26- 12 to Cronulla in Auck­land, re­duc­ing the Auck­land- based side’s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the NRL fi­nals for the first time since 2011.

As has been cus­tom­ary for much of 2017, mul­ti­ple er­rors and re­peated knock- ons last night ul­ti­mately proved the War­riors’ un­do­ing.

De­spite an­other de­cent show­ing up front, where the War­riors out­ran the Sharks with the ball, the de­fend­ing pre­miers ran in four tries to two to ce­ment their place in the top four with five reg­u­larsea­son games re­main­ing.

The War­riors are on the precipice and will have to win their last five, which in­clude tough matches against Can­berra and Manly, to have any chance of a top- eight fin­ish.

Coach Stephen Kear­ney watched on as the War­riors again squan­dered chances and gifted the Sharks easy tries.

In a mostly tight first half, Ken Mau­malo failed to judge a Sharks grub­ber kick and gave Kurt Capewell the eas­i­est of tries af­ter four min­utes, be­fore Ma­son Lino’s 32nd- minute knock- on al­lowed Fa’amanu Brown to score.

The Sharks’ first two tries – both against the run of play – sand­wiched a jug­gling Solomone Kata in­ter­cept try in the 29th minute.

There was a brief War­riors rally in the sec­ond half, with Lino putting Bo­dene Thomp­son over to get his side back to within two points. GRAND fi­nal time has al­ready ar­rived in the Townsville and Dis­tricts Rugby League.

Western Lions and Brothers go head to head in the TDRL un­der- 20s grand fi­nal at the Townsville Sports Re­serve this af­ter­noon af­ter en­joy­ing dom­i­nant sea­sons.

Lions fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son as mi­nor pre­miers and Brothers placed sec­ond.

Lions un­der- 20s coach Nathan Sc­holes said his team’s charge to­wards to the de­cider had been a long time com­ing. “We’ve been work­ing on it for two years,” he said.

“We got a bit un­lucky last year, we got knocked out in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal. But most of our boys were 18- 19 and they’ve worked re­ally hard to be where they are now.

“Hope­fully they get their re­ward at the end.

“Most of them — give or take three or four play­ers — have been at the club their whole lives and the last grand fi­nal I think they played to­gether was un­der- 11s.”

The grand fi­nal op­po­nents played each other five times in the reg­u­lar sea­son, Lions win­ning three times and Brothers once. They also played a 16- all draw. “It’s been a bit of a up and down com­pe­ti­tion,” Brothers un­der- 20s coach Chris Gray said.

“We stuck to a bit of a struc­ture in the first half of the year but as our con­fi­dence grew we changed it, and we have a very tal­ented side.

“It’s been a tough bat­tle for them this sea­son, but it’s the best two teams in the com­pe­ti­tion by far.”

The un­der- 20s grand fi­nal comes a month be­fore the A grade de­cider, which is still al­most any team’s to play with two reg­u­lar games re­main­ing.

Lions can al­most se­cure the mi­nor pre­mier­ship with a win against Norths, but Brothers and Her­bert River will re­main in the race if they can se­cure wins to­day.

Brothers travel to Char­ters Tow­ers to play the Min­ers, and Her­bert River play Univer­sity at Joe Baker Field.

Ayr will be the scene of the round’s most cru­cial game when fourth­placed Bur­dekin clashes with fifth­placed Cen­trals. Bur­dekin lead Cen­trals by a sin­gle win and can seal their fi­nals spot with vic­tory, but a win for Cen­trals will give the Tigers a chance of sneak­ing into the top four. TDRL un­der- 20s grand fi­nal. To­day: 5.30pm Western v Lions, Townsville Sports Re­serve. TDRL A grade. To­day: 4pm Western Lions v Norths, Sports Re­serve; 4,30pm Univer­sity v Her­bert River, Joe Baker Field ( JCU); 6.30pm Bur­dekin v Cen­trals, Ayr Rugby Park; 6.15pm Char­ters Tow­ers v Brothers, Bill Lewis Oval.

COV­ETED PRIZE: Brothers player Daniel Muguira and Josh Fore­man of Western Lions with the un­der- 20s TDRL grand fi­nal shield. Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.