Brothers defence, self-belief behind determined U19 victory
BROTHERS under 19 side joined the Brethren's division 2 team as 2015 premiers.
Brothers beat Eastern Cobras 26- 20 in the first of yesterday's three Ipswich Rugby League grand finals in an open game of running footy.
Cobras led 8-0 mid-way through the first half.
But Brothers stormed back with try to Paul Iopu eight minutes before the break.
Just when momentum was shifting their way, poor discipline and some desperation in defence got the Cobras off the hook.
Brothers fullback Kaleo Tupai was sinbinned for an infringement defending his own line and the Cobras led 8-4 at the break.
The second half lead changed continually as the teams repeatedly traded tries.
Both teams looked like they could score from almost every set, with ball security seemingly not a high priority.
When Cobras let a bomb bounce with eight minutes left Brock McNulty pounced to put his team back in front.
In the dying seconds Brothers hooker Faitasiga Oloitoa scooted from dummy half, chipped, chased and scored to seal the win.
"I'm really happy with the performance we put out there," Brothers captain Nick Roberts said.
"A few things didn't go our way but we defended out of our skins."
Brothers had been second team into the grand final, having let a lead slip against Cobras a fortnight earlier.
Roberts said his team had learned its lesson from that match.
"We just stood up and believed in ourselves," he said.
"We played the full 70 minutes.
"Against Norths and in the semi against Cobras being down really hurt us.
"We dropped our heads.
"Today we were all positive.
"We had to believe we could get it done."
Brothers forward A J Raeli was the most damaging ball runner throughout and was named man-of-the-match.
State of Play
Brothers 26 (Paul Iopu, Sani Tasi, Chris Bell, Brock McNulty, Faitasiga Oloitoa tries; A J Raeli 3 goals) def Cobras 20 (Jye Brennan 2, Bronson Baker, Hardi Pomate tries; Adrian Elder 2 goals).