21 August, 2023

Season ends for Gladiators

DESPITE high confidence and an adrenaline rush, the Mareeba Gladiators A Grade team fell at the hands of Cairns Brothers in the semi-finals, losing 52-12, ending their 2023 FNQRL season.

By Ellie Fink

Season ends for Gladiators - feature photo

Although Brothers quickly secured a score within the opening minute, the Gladiators took control of the game in the subsequent 25 minutes.

This period witnessed impressive tries from Caleb Dally and Cain Hastie, propelling the Gladiators to a 12-6 lead.

However, Brothers mounted a comeback by responding with three tries of their own, ultimately heading into halftime with a 26-12 advantage.

In the second half, Brothers maintained their dominance and secured a decisive victory.

Coach Chris Sheppard said that despite the loss, the boys' confidence and pride remained high after kicking several goals to make it to this point.

“We were really good and dominated for 25 minutes there early, and we're a pass away from another try or two. Brothers held on and then fought back, clearly being the better team on the night,” he said.

“It’s not all lost, though, as the boys learned some really good lessons, and we’ll be better for it next year. We're a young team learning every week, and we've taken some massive positive strides this year. We'll look to maintain this momentum next year.

“The Mareeba community has a young local team they can be really proud of here, and there are some really exciting years ahead."

Gladiators president Darrin Hastie watched with pride on Saturday night as the A Grade boys showcased all their hard work, determined to win against the seasoned Brothers team.

At the end of the match, Hastie says he was pleased to witness great sportsmanship from both sides as the Brothers shook hands and congratulated the Gladiators on their growth.

“They all shook hands, and a lot of the Brothers players, along with a lot of congrats, came from them for how far they came,” he said.

“There were lots of comments from other clubs that have been here a long time, expressing that we have done well with the local young talent.”

Both Hastie and Sheppard also thanked the local community for their support and congratulated the Under 18s and junior teams for their successes this season.

“We'd like to thank everyone who supported us this year, congratulate the Under 17 Gladiators girls' team that won the Grand Final and wish both the Under 18 and 16 Gladiators teams, who are Minor Premiers, all the best in their finals campaigns over the coming weeks,” Sheppard said.


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