25 March, 2024

Roosters win three from three

THE rivalry was fierce at Davies Park at the weekend, with the Atherton Roosters claiming a commanding victory over the Mareeba Gladiators 32-12.

First Grade Atherton Roosters player Matt Baillie makes a run for the try line.
First Grade Atherton Roosters player Matt Baillie makes a run for the try line.

The game started strong with several big hits in the opening exchange from both sides, getting spectators into the spirit of the match. 

The Roosters were up 16-6 at the break and didn't slow up from there finishing with six tries to the Gladiators’ two, giving them local derby bragging rights over their Tableland opposition. 

In the reserve grade, Roosters also dominated 32-6, while the under 19 Roosters also won 16-10. 

Roosters head coach Joel Riethmuller was pleased with the club's overall effort on Saturday citing fitness as a key component of their success. 

“All three grades have trained hard in our pre-season program and that is now paying off,” he said.

“Everyone turned up to play and we got the results with three wins.”

Riethmuller said he was very happy with the first grader's defensive effort throughout the 80 minutes. 

“We defended our line well and maintained this through to the end, he said. 

“There are areas for us to improve on and we will keep building as a team.”

Gladiators A Grade coach Chris Sheppard said the loss felt sour for the team, particularly in the same week of Mareeba league icon Terry Aquilina’s passing. 

“The performance was bitterly disappointing considering the passing of club great Terry Aquilina. Everything he stood for we didn't show which hurts,” he said. 

“We're short on numbers at the moment and our expectation of whoever plays is to do their part and we didn't do that.

“We've got another month in this position, so we’ve got to get back and work hard together, all of us – coaches and players – we all need to be better.”

Saturday's win also gives the Roosters first points in the Tableland Cup which is played annually over the two premiership competition rounds between the two local clubs. 

Following the Easter break, the Roosters next match is in Tully on 6 April while the Gladiators play Kangaroos at Vico Oval.          

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