THE Mareeba Gladiators A-Grade side showed plenty of promise in a losing effort on Saturday night.
Their opponents were the ever-formidable Innisfail Leprechauns, and while the Gladiators ultimately went down 28-14, it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of heart.
The poor start which plagued the Gladiators the week prior in Atherton happened again on Saturday, as Innisfail jumped out to a 10-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes, capitalising on the home side’s mistakes and ill-discipline.
Despite their poor start, the final 20 minutes of the first half belonged to the Gladiators, as their outside backs began to create opportunity after opportunity out wide.
Their expansive play paid off as Gladiators winger Josh Adu-Dwanna scored in the corner to reduce the deficit to just a converted try.
The Gladiators were unlucky not to score again just before half-time after Adu-Dwanna was tackled just short of the try line after he made a 50 metre dash down the sideline beating multiple would-be defenders.
That missed opportunity proved costly in the context of the game as Innisfail’s try early in the second half stifled the home side’s momentum they had carried from the end of the first half.
A try to Gladiators captain Trent Barnard kept them in it, however Innisfail almost immediately hit back with two quick tries to blow the lead out to 28-8.
Another try to Barnard late in the game brought the eventual scoreline to 28-14.
Mareeba Gladiators A-Grade coach Terry Aquilina said the effort is there, however it’s the errors which are hurting his team.
“We’re making too many follow-on errors,” he said.
“So we’ll do something well and then we’ll follow it with an error, and that’s proven costly as it makes it really hard for us to apply and maintain pressure.
“In saying that, our players are willing – I can live with us making errors as long as they’re not avoiding what they have to do, so from that perspective there’s something for us to work with.
“We have a lot of young players in our squad and this a learning curve for them, so patience is required.”
Saturday was a tough day for the Mareeba club, as the Gladiators went down in all four fixtures.
The Mareeba Gladiators will have the chance to avenge their losses this Saturday as they host Southern Suburbs.
Fixture Schedule this Saturday:
- Gates open at 1pm
- Ladies – 2pm
- U18s – 3pm
- Reserve Grade – 4:30pm
- A-Grade – 6pm