22 May, 2023
Two in a row for Gladiators
A YOUNG Gladiators A-grade side travelled down to Yarrabah over the weekend and against all odds, came out on top in a 32-26 win, despite missing key players and their coach.
The Gladiators came ready to play and proved it from the first touch, with a heavy hit knocking the ball loose and just three plays later, they crossed for their first try within a couple of minutes.
Leon Wood and Gabe Tunimakubu opened the score up first before Yarrabah hit back, the teams then traded tries with Ian King scoring another for the Gladiators resulting in a narrow 14-10 halftime lead.
The second half proved to be another back and forward affair with tries to Trezman Banjo and Joe Shadrick while the home side scored three quick tries to take the lead with 15 minutes remaining.
The young Gladiators dug deep and took a penalty goal to tie it up at 26 all before Kyan Sheppard crossed the line to put his team in front 32-26.
They then held on resolutely and defended their line for the last four minutes to come away with the win.
“I’m really proud of the boys, to come to Yarrabah and win against a good team that’s well coached is a credit to each of them,” Coach Chris Sheppard said.
“We had players out and we spoke about the 17 we had doing the job and every one of them contributed.
“We just need to keep competing like this and there will be more wins to come.”
Despite missing veteran players like Ricky Shave, Sonny Rea and Ryan Flegler, the team rallied behind Caleb Dally as he led from the front.
“Caleb led us with strong carries throughout the game and the young fellas followed him,” Sheppard said.
“We had a couple of debutantes in Tyrone Strickland and Narason Moorcroft-Kose who both came in and did a great job too.
“We are improving which is great, we have just got to keep working hard.”
Gladiators president Darrin Hastie said from kick-off the boys were raring to go and in footy terms “were ready to bash them”.
“They meant business and it was an outstanding performance by all,” he said.
Mareeba has a bye this weekend before hosting the Mossman Sharks in A-grade and Reserve Grade on 3 June.