Draw ends Swifts' finals aspirations
SWIFTS' season came down to a sideline conversion attempt in the final minute of yesterday's A-grade rugby league clash with Brothers.
Unfortunately for kicker Tre Sheppard and his Swifts teammates it went wide.
The 28-all draw at Brother Seery Park means that the Bluebirds' finals prospects are effectively over.
They remain four points (two wins) behind fourth placed Brothers with two rounds remaining, but have a 159 points worse for-and-against differential.
For the second week in succession Brothers came back from 18-0 down to get the result they needed to keep their own finals hopes alive.
For the first half hour of yesterday's clash Swifts played near perfect football, controlling the ball, dominating the ruck and cutting holes through the porous Brothers defence.
When Swifts had a rare lapse in discipline, giving away a penalty, Brothers failed to find touch.
But Brothers hung in there and, as Swifts big men tired late in the half, crossed for two tries of their own to trail 24-12 at the break.
Brothers coach Dean Daylight was clearly not happy with proceedings. He had been increasingly vocal throughout the first half towards the referee and took the opportunity at half-time to remonstrate with the official.
When he had finished, Brothers ground announcer Ben McAteer followed suit, voicing his displeasure at the officials from close range.
When the football resumed Swifts could not repeat their impressive start to the first half.
Their discipline and structures abandoned them, with penalties and dropped ball all too frequently giving Brothers an easy ride.
Brothers took the lead in the 68th minute with their third try of the half as the tide turned against the Bluebirds.
"We panicked a little bit," said Swifts forward John Maila, who was one of his team's best.
"A lot of calls didn't go our way and we made errors in the middle."
Swifts went away from what had worked for them in the first half - running numbers at Brothers' weak right side defence.
When they finally got it right Aaron Angareau crossed for the try that levelled the match.
"We were just giving away penalties at critical times," Brothers lock Beau Yates said of his team's poor start to the match.
"We've got the ability to come back from 18-0 down but you can't do that in finals."
It may not be the same Brothers of recent years, but self-belief remains ingrained at Brother Seery Park.
So it was no surprise to see them come back, "once we started getting quick play-the-balls," Yates said. "It's all about the speed of the game for us, because we're a quick, young side."