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Round 9 Kangaroos v Brothers
As hot and humid Summer days give way to cooler, more pleasant temperatures, Sunday afternoon matches are seeing an increase in the number of spectators. As such, it was perfect conditions that confronted players and spectators at Vico Oval on Sunday.
The Under 18's was always going to be a top match with the third seated Roos being able to contest their next highest ladder rival, Brothers, at home. Roos took full advantage of the home ground advantage and moved up the leaderboard to be equal second with Brothers after defeating them 30 points to 20.
Reserve grade defied the ladder seatings and settled down to an arm wrestle. Brothers scored with seven minutes to go putting themselves in front 38 - 36. Roos were determined not to let them go, striking back in the corner to take back the lead 40 - 38. With two minutes to go, Roos supporters were counting in their second victory of the day. Unfortunately, for Roos, Brothers managed to perfectly place their kick off, find touch and gain possession twenty out from their line. Danny Lincoln used the last seconds of the game to cross the line and snatch victory from a valiant Roos outfit 46 - 38.
Brothers began the A grade match showing their opposition and spectators alike what it takes to head the CDRL A grade ladder. Despite losing prop, John O'Sullivan, to a shoulder injury at the ten minute mark, Brothers were able to put twelve unchallenged points on Roos in as many minutes. A length of the field try by Nick Obodin the stand out in Brothers three early tries. Malona Savage put Roos first points on the board but just moments later Warren Kerr, Brothers, crossed through a nonexistent Roos defensive line to score a soft try just outside the posts. Roos could manage little more than to keep in touch with Ned Anno shadowing the corner post. A much needed conversion brought the score to 18 - 10 but still in Brothers favour.
Roos continued to punish themselves, knocking on from the kick off and allowing Kahu Wehi to put Brothers further ahead, crossing virtually untouched from the scrum to score an easy try under the black dot. With seven minutes left in the half Roos showed a great deal of potential with some creative back line plays that went through the hands from right to left and back again but unfortunately, they couldnÃÂt turn attacking flair into points. Brother's fullback, Ben Fitzpatrick, trailed a length of the field run by Ben Alfred to punish Roos for their near misses and put Brothers up 30-10. With half time just one minute away, Elvis Auda did all the heavy work paving the way for Duncan Naawi to cross under the posts sending Roos to the sheds behind, but in touch, 16-30.
Roos raised the bar in the second half and came out to score the first points. Backing up from the kick off, Sonny Rea showed it was no fluke crossing after a tip-toeing run along the sideline by Ishmael Anu. Roos spectators found their voice as their team pulled the score back to within four points to be down just 26 - 30.
Sonny Rea continued to prove elusive, bursting the Brothers defence to score his second. Brothers were left reeling as Roos landed 16 points in the first nine minutes of the second half. Brothers dug deep with Andreas Nona cracking the line to cross at the corner to edge Brothers out of danger with a 36 to 32 difference. Roos continued their turn of form, stretching Brother's defence and allowing Ned Anno to draw level with Brothers at 36 all. Supporters for the blue and golds held their breath as they watch the ball soar through the posts to put Roos in front for the first time in the match 38 - 36. Brother's winger, Matt Larkin, snatched the lead back for Brothers 42 - 48.
Roos muscled up with some strong defence but they couldn't manage to contain the Brothers backs or the barn-storming run of Dane Kepa who put Robbie Swain across. Brothers broke Roos' hearts with a try to debutante half, Nathan Kepa. Ishmael Anu danced the sideline for some 60 metres to save face for Roos. A final seconds try to Brother's, Robbie Swain allowed the game to hit the century with the final score in Brothers' favour 58 - 42.
Roos showed that despite their ladder standing, they are a team to contend with when their attacking flair is in full swing and their backline in motion. For Brothers, Eric Smith is sure to have his boys on the tackling bags this week given their lessor opponents were able to land 42 points against them, and, that twenty six of those points were posted in the second half. This weekend Brothers head up to tackle Atherton at home on Saturday night and Roos will enjoy a week off with the bye.
Pictures of the games can be seen in the photo gallery.