15 May, 2023
Gladiators trample Roosters
THREE tries in the opening 20 minutes pushed the Mareeba Gladiators to a 32-16 win over archrivals the Atherton Roosters in Saturday night’s FNQ rugby league premiership match played at Davies Park.
The young Gladiators team started strong against the Roosters and pulled ahead in the early minutes due to a try from Ryan Flegler after a break from Sonny Rea.
The Gladiators quickly backed it up with two quick tries to Ricky Shave and Gabriel Tunimakubu before the Roosters answered back through Ned Blackman.
The scoring in the first half ended just before the break with a try to Trezman Banjo, taking the score to 24-6 leading into halftime.
Atherton came out of the break reinvigorated and dominated early in the second half with a double to Aiden Carson while Gladiator Ian King slotted in a try of his own.
The final try of the game went to the flying front rower Tunimakubu in the 75th minute which took the final score to 32-16.
Gladiators coach Chris Sheppard said it was a tough game which was expected for the local derby as both teams were very spirited and wanted to take the win home.
“We are improving each week and learning what we need to do in different situations – we are young but we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
“We have got to keep working hard and improving and we will see more wins this season.
“We did not have a bad player and the thing I challenged the group on during the week, I thought we did well for the majority if the game.”
Sheppard said while the whole team performed well, there were a few standout players who helped push the team over the line.
“Our best were Ricky and Sonny in the centre, our middle was strong and Trezzie (Trezman) kicked well and our bench have us some really good punch,” he said.
“We are still growing and need to keep working hard on our game.”
Mareeba also won the under 18 match 26-20 after the Roosters had led 16-14 at halftime. Roosters won the reserve grade 18-14. The Senior Roosters play the Mossman Sharks at Mossman this Saturday.
The Gladiators will have local derby bragging rights till the they meet again in Atherton on July 21.
Before that the Gladiators will be travelling down to Yarrabah to play the reigning premiers while the Roosters will face off against the Mossman Sharks at Mossman this weekend.