Norths produce the upset of the season
RUGBY LEAGUE: Norths Chargers have pulled off the upset of the season toppling the previously undefeated Rockhampton Brothers 24-18 at Browne Park.
Brothers had an 18-6 lead dismantled late in the game as Norths mounted a historic comeback to win their first grand final since 2007.
Norths winger Bryan Spence proved the ultimate hero crossing for the would-be match winner with just four minutes remaining.
With the scores locked at half time, it was anyone's game. Brothers were out for their first title in three seasons while Norths had not won since 2007.
Just after half time, a mistake from Power at the back had Norths in prime position to take the lead but the Brothers fullback redeemed himself stealing the ball from the fifth tackle kick. Brothers won a penalty to advance up field and in range.
From there big prop forward Justin Daniels crashed over next to the posts as the minor premiers grabbed the lead for the first time in the game.
Nine minutes into the second stanza things got fiery like the pre-game talk suggested it would. Norths won a penalty after centre Russell Webber was spear tackled. Webber landed on his neck but managed to get to his feet and stay on the field.
Chargers continued to mount pressure without inflicting pain as Brothers defence line stayed solid. To their credit, Norths won the ball back for a third straight set from a Jack White grubber kick.
Brothers goal line defence was rewarded with a jamming tackle finding a knock-on from Norths skipper Daniel Tanner.
With the ball in hand, Brothers were looking dangerous and won a fifth tackle penalty to put themselves in the box seat.
Daniels attracted multiple defenders close to the line and showed silky hands of a half to put bench forward Sam Kitchin under the posts. Power extended the lead for Brothers after 56 minutes.
With a two-try lead and the best defence in the competition, it was looking grim for Norths.
As multiple riots broke out in the stands, Brothers continued to pile pressure on the desperate Norths line. Norths defence earned themselves a reprieve and marched up field via a penalty. White won a line dropout but their assault ended with Tull dropping the ball cold.
Jack White brought it on himself to get his side back in the game with a fine individual try via fast footwork to make it a six point ball game with 14 to go.
A huge mistake from Norths in the clearing kick which sailed out on the full had Brothers in the prime position though they failed to capitalise.
With seven minutes to go, a Brothers knock-back, called play on, went straight into hands of Norths winger Bryan Spence to score and level up the contest.
Just one minute later, Spence was in the action as the flying winger streaked away for his second try. White converted the extras with four and a half to go.
Norths were three minutes away from the upset of the season.
With a minute to go, Brothers won a line dropout for one last crack.
Brothers spread the ball, which was touched by Norths and a scrum was packed with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Earlier in the contest, both teams settled into the grind well without disrupting the scores.
Norths enjoyed the majority of the running but yielded no reward for 20 minutes. That all changed when dynamic five-eighth Caleb Tull created something out of nothing with a grubber kick through the line.
Tull booted his own kick further up field and beat everyone to claim the first points of the evening. He then added the extras from outside.
Brothers hit back just four minutes later, aided by a penalty from which hooker Grant Rogers beat caught the Chargers napping from dummy half to slam the ball down.
Mitchell Power levelled up the scores from directly in front but the scores never changed as both teams went into the half time sheds at 6.
In the other games, Yeppoon defeated Norths in the under-20s and Woorabinda defeated Norths in the reserve grade.
Rockhampton Brothers 18 (Rogers, Daniels, Kitchin tries; Power 3/3) lost to
Norths Chargers 24 (Spence 2, Tull, White tries; White 4/4)