Brothers outlast Seagulls in final
The Hervey Bay Seagulls went into the Bundaberg Rugby League grand final needing a miracle.
Their prayers were not answered.
For the second year in a row, the Seagulls couldn't achieve what many considered to be mission impossible, losing to Brothers 32-10 at Salter Oval yesterday.
A crowd of about 500 people witnessed a gritty Seagulls side, which ended with 14 men, take it up to an out-of-sorts Brothers.
Hervey Bay may not have ended with the trophy but the mere fact they didn't let the undefeated minor premiers have it all their way drew plenty of praise from their opposition and supporters.
Seagulls coach Peter Regan was disappointed after the match, but said he felt for his players who dug deep in adversity.
"I don't care what anyone says, the better side got beaten.
"For the first 30 minutes of the game, we were the better side and unfortunately the scoreboard didn't show that," he said.
"(We had) Three tries disallowed which turned the game on its head, but it's a grand final, unpredictable things can happen.
"We just have to wear it.
"We got beaten, they're a good side, but I thought we were a better side."
The Seagulls' chances of winning weren't helped by first-half injuries to Jack Bargenquast (shoulder) and Anthony Lindeberg (ankle).
Fullback Clinton Horne left the field late in the game with a knee complaint.
After weathering an early Seagulls' onslaught, Brothers piled on three tries, including two in three minutes just before the break, to establish a 18-0 halftime lead.
Against all odds, the Seagulls continued to challenge Brothers and looked to have scored their first points of the match through five-eighth Terry Horne, but was ruled to have knocked on.
In the ensuing set, the blistering speed and creativity of Brothers centre Shaun Collins, a former Maryborough junior, orchestrated a try for fullback Tien Nguyen, which ripped Seagulls' hearts out.
But in typical Seagulls fashion, the side refused to throw in the towel with Brock Eldridge and (Terry) Horne crossing the line to give their team a glimmer of hope.
But it ended up being a mountain too hard to climb.
"It's always heartbreaking to lose a grand final, especially after coming that close and knowing we could have had them," Seagulls skipper Mitch Yarrow said.
"We really stuck it to them and they knew we were here to play.
"We were physical, which was our plan.
"We put them off their game and it really worked for us, but they toppled us at the end."
Brothers 32 (Andrew Duffy 2, Tien Nguyen, Shaun Collins, Lewis Williams, Barry Blackman tries; Brent Kuskey 4 goals) d Hervey Bay 10 (Brock Eldridge, Terry Horne tries; Clinton Horne goal)
Brothers 50 (Tupou Pilivi, Illifeleti Vaisele, Nathan Bobin 2, Nathan Moore, Bryce Holdsworth, Sam Vialliss-Henry, Justin Woodgate tries; Josh Anderson 3, Nathan Moore 2 goals) d Wallaroos 12 (David Ball 2, Danial Poppi tries)