Swift reply sets up fine triumph for Bluebirds
SWIFTS ended Brothers bid for a grand slam of Ipswich Rugby League premierships when they won the Reserve grade grand final 28-24.
Brothers led 10-0 late in the first half on the back of tries to Dan Nolan and Ryan Brown.
But Swifts hit back with two tries of their own and extended the lead to 18-10 early in the second half when captain Stuart Webb crashed over.
The Bluebirds were on the rise and centre Tye Johnson made it 22-10 soon after when he scored.
But Brothers had plenty of fight left in them, Swifts only denying them twice with some desperation in defence.
Swifts' growing confidence was clear in their willingness to spread the ball from within their own half.
But it was Brothers who scored next with Joel Dennis crossing in the left corner to trail 22-14.
When Dennis dragged three defenders over for his second try 13 minutes from full time to trail 22-20 Brothers had all the momentum.
Errors were creeping in for Swifts, adding to the sense it was only a matter of time before Brothers took the lead.
Somehow Swifts held out and when Brothers big man Omaha Vaivelo was sin-binned with four minutes to go Swifts sensed their opportunity.
In the following set veteran Shane Williams dived over for the match winning try.
Brothers winger Joel Dennis brought up a hat-trick of tries and narrowed the margin to four points with a minute remaining, but Swifts had done enough to extinguish Brothers hopes of a grand slam of the senior grades.
Swifts five-eighth Tyran Chapman was named man of the match, but he passed all credit onto his forwards.
"I just thought it was our forwards working hard," he said of the reason for the narrow win.
"They dug deep when needed."
Chapman appreciated the presence of Williams as much for his directing abilities as for his match winning try.
"He was there when we needed guidance," Chapman said. "He put us in the right direction."
For Chapman it has been a season to savour, exceeding his expectations.
"The season has been better than I expected," he said.
"We knew Brothers step up in grand finals.
"So we came out expecting their best."
State of Play
Reserve grade grand final: Swifts 28 (Stuart Webb, Tye Johnson, Sam O'Connell, Taulauniu Poto, Shane Williams tries; Stuart Webb 4 goals) def Brothers 24 (Joel Dennis 2, Dan Nolan, Ryan Brown tries; Josh Whitwell, Ryan Brown goals).