'It was a great game of footy and our girls hung tough'
RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton Brothers' two-try blitz in the first 12 minutes proved the difference in their gutsy grand final win on Saturday.
The Brethren women ran out 14-4 victors against Yeppoon to avenge last year's grand final heartbreak when they lost in the last 60 seconds to Tannum Sands.
Brothers and Yeppoon were the best two teams all season and they served up a rugby league spectacle at Browne Park which featured enterprising attack and bone-jarring defence.
Victorious coach Dominic Draper praised his players' composure under pressure, especially in the second half as they repelled a series of attacking raids from their rivals.
"It was a great game of footy and our girls hung tough,” he said.
"It was really tough and the girls did a really good job.”
It was a sweet victory for captain Jessica Powell, who missed last year's grand final because of injury.
"It was an awesome game so it makes the feeling even better,” she said.
"I think leading into this week we all remained pretty calm.
"We knew that we couldn't get ahead of ourselves - we had to come in and just play our game for 60 minutes.”
Powell said it was a brilliant team effort.
"Everyone on the field was working for the person next to them and I think that's what makes a great team.”
Brothers Rebecca Hall scored the first points of the grand final in the eighth minute, and Mackenzie Reid crossed just four minutes later to extend the lead to 10-nil.
Yeppoon started to find their rhythm and were working their way back into the game.
A brilliant 40/20 from Chantelle Dodd got them on the front foot and from the ensuing play Ashlee Whouley scored from a perfectly positioned cross kick.
But Brothers responded through Krystal Hardin, who scored with just one minute left on the clock to go to the sheds leading 14-4.
Brothers looked set to extend their lead as Bree Spreadborough dashed across the tryline but Yeppoon skipper Meg Neven produced a brilliant tackle that denied her the points.
Yeppoon lifted on the back of their skipper's courage and pressed hard for points but were unable to penetrate the defensive line of Brothers, who held on to score an impressive victory.
Neven said she was proud of how her team performed in their first grand final appearance but said it was their slow start that ultimately cost them.
"We let in two easy tries in the first 10 minutes and that's where the game was won. It came down to two tries.
"We've never experienced this sort of crowd, this sort of energy. We love it and we'll be back next year to win.”