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Gladiators win sets up mouth-watering Tableland Cup clash

Mareeba Gladiators Jayden Edwards.

THE Mareeba Gladiators AGrade outfit have continued their winning ways after a decisive 32-10 win over the Edmonton Storm at Davies Park on Saturday night.

Saturday’s victory marks three straight for the men in green and gold, and ensures they are well and truly within arms reach of the top five. Their two previous wins have been built on the back of their defence, and that was once again on display as they were able to hold their opposition to just two tries.

In addition, while their attack has been a work in progress throughout most of this season, their combinations appeared to click against the Storm which is something their captain Trent Barnard was extremely pleased with.

“Our first half of footy was probably our best all year, we were completing our sets which is something we’ve struggled with this year so that was definitely good to see,” he said.

“We’ve worked much better as a unit over the past few weeks and I think that’s showing in our performances – it also helps that we have a healthy and full-strength squad as it allows our combinations to continue to improve.

“That’s particularly noticeable in our attack, we’ve made an improvement there because we have been having the same spine each week.”

Their win sets up for a mammoth showdown with Tableland rivals the Atherton Roosters, who got the better of the Gladiators in their two previous meetings, one of which was a trial. The Atherton Roosters will be hoping to improve on their last month of footy, which has consisted of just one win in their last four outings. The Tableland Cup will be up for grabs, and Barnard said it is a fixture he is really looking forward to.

“Atherton touched us up a bit in round one, however there is a confidence amongst the group that we can do well as we are a much different team to the one that played in Atherton,” he said.

“Everyone is excited to play because Atherton are a very strong side with plenty of talented players – so they’re the games you want to be a part of.”

Barnard said he hopes to see a strong crowd on hand.

■ The A-Grade local derby kicks off at 6pm at Davies Park this Saturday.

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