Brothers upset Yeppoon in drama-charged grand final
RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton Brothers have claimed back-to-back premierships after winning a drama-filled grand final last night.
More than 1000 footy fans packed into Browne Park to watch minor premiers Yeppoon take on the reigning champions in a highly anticipated season decider.
But in what seems to have become a sporting curse, the minor premiers and the title favourites were beaten for the third year in a row.
Brothers started in blistering fashion, putting three tries on Yeppoon in the first 15 minutes and going on to post a stunning 40-14 win.
But the drama unfolded late in the first half when Yeppoon five-eighth Cody Grills was sent for the game after a melee erupted.
Three other players - another from Yeppoon and two from Brothers - were also sent off for 10 minutes.
Yeppoon coach Scott Minto was was livid about the send-off, saying he knew the game was over once it happened.
"Penalty after penalty after penalty and then a man sent off - how do you come back from that? It's pretty hard to take,” he said post-match.
"When the player came to me and said why he got sent off I just couldn't believe it.
"The reason was because he gave four penalties away in a row. He wasn't here to play (the referee said) and that was it.
"That's the sort of thing that kills you. You can't send someone off for something like that in a game that decides everyone's season.”
Just minutes later, the game was brought to a lengthy halt after Brothers player CJ Clark was injured in a tackle.
He was treated by medical staff on the ground before being transported to hospital but he was cleared of any serious injury and returned to the ground for the team's celebrations.
Brothers led 28-6 at half-time and, while many thought the game was over, Yeppoon sparked hopes of a miracle comeback when Tully Wehmeier ran in two tries in the first three minutes of the second half.
Yeppoon halfback Parry Boland narrowed the lead to 28-14 when he scored in the 13th minute but that was a close as they would get.
Experienced campaigner Gavin Hiscox worked tirelessly in the hope of inspiring his troops but with Yeppoon one man down Brothers were finding gaps in the defensive line.
Brothers duo Riley Reid and Grant Rogers both scored in the latter stages of the half to seal the result.
Coach Scott Munns, who is in his first year at the helm of Brothers, was thrilled with the victory.
"It feels fantastic,” he said.
"I wasn't expecting that scoreline. I was thinking maybe 22-12 or a bit closer but we had a game plan and we executed it perfectly.
"We just knew we had to do everything right - and we did.”
It was a good day for the Brothers club, which won three of the four finals it contested.
As well as the A-grade win, their under-20s scored a 36-16 win over Norths and their reserves cruised to a 42-6 win over Valleys.
Brothers were only denied the clean sweep by a last-minute try in a thrilling women's final, which saw Tannum prevail 14-12.