24 July, 2023

Gladiators clean sweep in local derby clash

IN a clean sweep of all grades, Mareeba Gladiators secured win after win in the local derby against the Atherton Roosters at the weekend.

By Ellie Fink

Mareeba Under 18 player Will Hanlon.
Mareeba Under 18 player Will Hanlon.

It was the second time this year that Mareeba has  upset the Roosters in a local derby clash, with the A Grade team winning 29-22.

The Gladiators displayed their determination from the start, initiating the action with three early tries to establish an 18-0 lead within the first 20 minutes.

They came in hot with early tries to Caleb Dally and a double to Murphy Morris before conceding one to Atherton's Reece Munster to take a 18-6 halftime lead. 

After the break, it was a tightly-contested affair with Atherton scoring through a double to Glen Dumbbrell and a try from Aiden Carson, while the Gladiators scored through Kyle Hastie and Joe Shadrick to make the score 28-22 with 10 minutes  to go.  

Mareeba steadied the ship and a late field goal to Matt Egan saw Mareeba run out winners.

Mareeba coach Chris Sheppard said he was proud of his team, particularly coming off a bye and credited the Roosters for their play.

“We are notoriously rusty coming off the rodeo bye and it was the same again however our middles won the battle early and our spine controlled things really well early into the second half,” he said.

“After that poor discipline and errors gave Atherton a shot to get back into the game and to their credit, they took it.

“Atherton are going a lot better than the ladder suggests and it was a tough away game on a cold wintery night so to come away with the Tableland Cup and to win across all three grades was fantastic.”

Notably, Mareeba's Under 18 side continued their impressive run in this year's competition, maintaining their dominance with a 22-16 win over the Roosters. 

For coach Shaun Fincham, their resilience in the first half set the team up for success but a few minor faults and lack of discipline in the second half is what almost cost them the game. 

“They kept their structure and their discipline but in the second half that is what we lacked,” he said.

“Besides that, it was an impressive game to watch and they fought hard. 

“They really pull together as a team and every week there is a new man of the match because they all work around and with each other – they’re all good mates and it’s very much a team performance.”

The Gladiators also secured a victory in reserve grade, triumphing over the Roosters with a scoreline of 24-16, completing a clean sweep of wins.

In the upcoming weekend’s FNQ rugby league competition, the Roosters host the Edmonton Storm, while Mareeba will travel away to Mossman and the Under 18’s have a bye.

Roosters first grade half Aiden Carson goes up against Mareeba on Saturday night.

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