Fast starting Panthers lose early momentum against Brothers
PREMIERSHIP heavy weights Rockhampton Brothers survived a massive scare against the Biloela Panthers at Victoria Park in Rockhampton on Saturday night 40-32.
The Panthers again with only 13 fresh players and four admirable under 20 players backing up after their earlier match, silenced a vocal opposition crowd early on as their forwards again came out early and punished the Brothers pack.
An early first half double to Emeil Tea and a try to Shane Carter saw the Panthers rush out to an 18-6 lead 30 minutes into the first half. Brothers came alive in the dying minutes of the first stanza scoring two late controversial tries which rattled the Panthers and left the scores locked at 18-all at the half-time break.
In a near mirror image performance of the previous week the Panthers didn't come out as focussed as they needed to be and poor execution and simple errors gifted Brothers quality possession and field position.
Brothers took their advantage which they quickly capitalized on and ran in another three early second half tries to put themselves in a commanding position at 36-18. A well placed kick by 5/8th Daniel Martin found its way into Ryan Wilson's hands as he scored out wide and moved the Panthers back into striking distance of the Brothers juggernaught but another Panthers error soon after saw Brothers take a match winning 40-22 lead. The Panthers tried valiantly for the last 15 minutes to chase down the lead and threatened to pull off a Houdini like escape with Wilson scoring his second try and Emeil Tea his third, leaving the score at 40-32 in favour of Brothers at the full-time whistle.
Panthers coach Ryan Wilson was left with a quandary of emotions after the match, with the strongest of those being pride and excitement in the undoubted potential that this year's Panthers side has.
"This team has so much potential and so much heart,” Wilson said.
"Week in and week out so far this season our boys have shown they can more than match any team in this competition.”
Wilson went on to also praise the special efforts of his under-20s players who put in courageous efforts to support the senior players.
"Those under-20s players who step up have had to grow up fast the last few weeks against some high quality oppositions and it's a big learning curve for them, especially after they have already played 60 minutes of footy earlier on. That short term pain we are going through now as they learn now though gives us a big upside later in the season as they reap the benefit of their experiences and more training,” Wilson said.
Undermanned Panthers Reserve Grade and 20s teams also went down over the weekend to Rockhampton Brothers and Wallabies respectively.
The Panthers will be looking to produce 80 minutes of consistent football this weekend as they look to translate quality form on the field to more points on the premiership table as they take on a dangerous and improving Tannum Sands outfit at home on Saturday night. Tannum Sands are level with the Panthers in the Rockhampton Rugby League Premiership competition with 2 wins and 2 losses each so far this season but with the Panthers ahead on the premiership table due to a superior for and against. The Panthers who have shown they are genuine premiership contenders this year are still seeking more players for A grade, Reserve Grade and under 20s and encourage all former and new players to come along to trainings on Tuesday and Thursday nights or the home game this weekend.