No match for the stam­pede

Brah­mans too good for the Mag­pies

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Dane Lillingstone dane.lillingstone@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

RUGBY LEAGUE: They may have been the 2016 pre­miers but it must feel like a long time ago for the Mag­pies af­ter the Whit­sun­day Brah­mans made it two from two against last year’s A-grade cham­pi­ons.

A dou­ble from cen­tre Michael New­man proved the dif­fer­ence as the Brah­mans fin­ished Satur­day night’s game 32–18 win­ners.

In front of a loyal Les Stagg Oval crowd, the Brah­mans led 12–6 at half-time but were com­fort­able throughout the match. Two late Mag­pies tries made the match seem closer than it was.

Brah­mans man­ager Bryce Fraser said it wasn’t the best first half for the side but they al­ways felt on top.

“We man­aged to hold onto the ball in key ar­eas bet­ter than they did and crossed the line a few times,” he said. “We planned to keep them score­less and starve them with the ball and use our bet­ter fit­ness as an ad­van­tage over them. We wanted to make them de­fend a lot of sets.”

Fraser said New­man had been in great form lately in the twi­light of his ca­reer. Adam Wright con­tin­ued to be dom­i­nant in the halves while By­ron Tay­lor was slip­pery as al­ways in at­tack.

The win sees the Brah­mans sit third on the Mackay Dis­trict ladder be­hind tied lead­ers Wests and Souths.

“I think we’re start­ing to gel. We fi­nally have our strong­est side on the field. If we can keep that side on the park, we’ve only got our­selves to blame for not go­ing all the way,” Fraser said.

The Brah­mans have a bye next week be­fore play­ing Norths on July 1.

The Re­serves con­tin­ued their mid-sea­son resur­gence with a 30–16 win while the un­der-19s won 32–14.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

GOOD YARDS: Brah­man re­serve grader Kumya Gabey makes good me­tres up the mid­dle against the Mag­pies on Satur­day night in Proser­pine.

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