Battered and bruised, Brahmans bring home the points from Mackay
THE Whitsunday Brahmans headed south on the Bruce Highway to take on Mackay Brothers in three games on Sunday, with plenty of sore A-grade bodies returning worse for wear.
The physical A-grade encounter saw the match carefully placed, before Brahmans ultimately prevailed with a 26-10 victory.
Whitsunday got off to a positive start, scoring the opening two tries thanks to winger Harry Quod and Tuki Jackson.
Brothers, who boast a mixture of youth and experience, were still enthusiastic despite the Brahmans' solid start, crossing the line next.
Brahmans' lock Dane Vardanega closed out the half with a try to gift Whitsunday a 16-4 buffer.
The Brahmans struggled during the third quarter of the game letting Mackay within a try.
The match remained in the balance well into the final 10 minutes, until Quod crossed for his second try in the 73rd minute - giving the Brahmans a comforting 10-point barrier.
Whitsunday wasn't finished yet, with prop Matthew Lade crossing right on the buzzer for his first try of the year.
Brahmans' coach Anthony Blackwood praised forward James (Jimmy) Webb on his relentless defence and probing hit-ups in what was a bruising encounter.
Sunday's win takes the Brahmans to equal second on the ladder, with two games to make-up later in the season.
Players' player went to captain-coach Blackwood followed closely by second rower Ivan Petelo - who again had an outstanding game.
Phil Ramage's work in the halves was again top notch.
A weakened under-18s side took to the park first minus some of the usual squad but bolstered by the return of their Mackay Cutters' players. The young Brahmans did not let that bother them as they battled through a tough first half with the strong Brothers' forward pack attacking the line on many occasions only to be held back by the young bulls outstanding try line defence.
The Brahmans own forward pack laid the platform for the backs, led exceptionally well by half Byron Taylor - who's darting runs and line breaks kept the slower Brothers' forwards on their toes.
Brahmans' co-coach Callum Wilkinson praised his forward pack who showed mental toughness to overcome a powerful opposition.
Wilkinson especially mentioned the efforts of front rowers Kade Breen and man of the match Liam Payne - whose gritty performance kept his side moving forward.
The final score read Whitsunday 46 defeating Mackay 14, taking the Brahmans to third on the ladder.
The reserve grade Brahmans had a tough day at the office against Brothers.
A poor first half was to blame with little possession due to a low completion rate.
Not even the presence of three under-18's players could bolster the reserves, with handling errors costing the team dearly - trailing by 20-points at halftime.
Whatever coach Hugh Middleton said in the sheds at the break worked wonders for the reserves, with the Brahmans going try-for-try in the second stanza.
However the first half deficit would prove insurmountable, with the reserves ultimately going down to Mackay 32-10.
Middleton was extremely impressed with the non-stop bruising defence of Ronald Pender-Webb, which earned him the three points as players' player.
Back rower-come half Brent Murphy also had a strong game earning him two points followed by Anselam "Jukebox" Tabua who showed great heart.
Returning prop Tyson Chapman also had a great game and is pushing for a return to first grade.
The Brahmans are looking forward to a big home crowd at this Saturday's clash against the Magpies.
With a strong crowd attending the Brahmans first home game coach Blackwood is hoping for the same, if not a better crowd this Saturday night.
Under-18s will take to Les Stagg Oval from 3.30pm, followed by reserve grade at 5pm before A-grade takes to the field at 7pm.
Whitsunday Brahmans' results
Whitsunday Brahmans U18s 46 defeated Mackay Brothers 14
Mackay Brothers Reserves 32 defeated Whitsunday Brahmans 10
Whitsunday Brahmans A-grade 26 (Tries: Harry Quod 2, Tuki Jackson, Dane Vardanega and Matthew Lade. Conversions: Phil Ramage 3/5) defeated Mackay Brothers A-grade 10