FIGHTING BACK: The Panthers' defence tries to smother a kick from Gladstone's Jay Warry.
FIGHTING BACK: The Panthers' defence tries to smother a kick from Gladstone's Jay Warry. Tamara MacKenzie ROK030617tkafl4

Mudcrabs claw their way back to beat Panthers

AUSSIE RULES: The Rockhampton Panthers let a first-quarter lead slip to eventually go down by 25 points to the Gladstone Mudcrabs in Round 6 of the AFL Capricornia competition.

The Panthers came out firing from the opening hooter but failed to maintain the intensity after the first break.

Coach Tommy Kneen couldn't help but be disappointed about the final result after such a promising start.

"We were really good in the first quarter. We went out and played the style of footy that we want to play,” he said.

"In the second quarter I think the boys just got a bit ahead of themselves and took the foot off the pedal and Gladstone took it away from there.

"We got a few injuries but that happens during footy. I don't think that should have any impact on the way that we were playing.

"That's not an excuse for why we lost - we didn't play footy for three quarters; you can't play one good quarter of footy and expect to win a game.”

Among the injured was Joseph Burke who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken wrist.

Trailing by 22 points at three-quarter time, the Panthers looked set for a fourth quarter revival when they landed three majors in the opening stages but the visitors went with them to eventually run out winners 16.11-107 to 11.16-82.

Kneen nominated Clint Evans, who led the scoring with six goals, fullback Alex Kneen and workhorse Travis Applewaite as the Panthers' best.

He said the team would have to regroup, ready for their next opponents Glenmore, who were restricted to just one major in their 114-point loss to the Yeppoon Swans on Saturday.

"I'll just be asking the players to respond to what happened today and see what they want to do with it,” Kneen said.

Mudcrabs captain Stephen Eilola was happy with the way his players dug in and worked for each other.

"I think you can't really pick a best player out of it, we all played well and I think that was the first game that we played together as a team,” said the full forward who kicked nine goals.

Eilola said the Mudcrabs could expect another tough contest this Saturday when they take on Brothers, who were beaten by 30 by BITS at the weekend.



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