Bustling Brothers stopped Southcity’s premiership challenge dead in its track by stunning the Bulls 22-12 at Harris Park on Sunday.
Playing with a vibrant brand of enthusiasm and determination, Brothers led from the start to the finish to deliver first-year captain-coach Ben Black his best victory of the year.
The Brethren scored three unanswered tries in the first half to lead 16-0 at half-time before snuffing out Southcity’s inadequate recovery in the second half.
The loss, which was later labelled “disappointing” by Southcity captain-coach Skinner, has left the Bulls’ shot at the Group Nine title in disarray.
In contrast, the gritty and courageous success has set up Brothers for a free-wheeling ride to the end of the season, according to Black.
“That’ll give everyone a lot of confidence,” Black said.
“We’ve been building to this for weeks.
“We should’ve beaten Albury and we went really well against Kangaroos.
“Now we’ve beaten one of the top sides.”
For Black, the fervour shown in attack and defence highlighted Brothers giant-killing performance.
Rather than fall victim to their highly-rated Wagga neighbour, Brothers completely outshone the third-placed team.
Across the divide, Skinner was clearly unimpressed by the Bulls uninspiring effort.
“It was like we were a bit over confident,” Skinner said.
“We didn’t do the things we needed to do.”
Refusing to sugar-coat the failure, Skinner stressed the Brethren had been the better side.
Often criticised for falling off the pace for 10 or 15 minutes in every 40 minutes, Brothers turned in a sustained and forthright display on Sunday.
Time and time again the Brethren defied the Bulls playmakers to cut loose.
Southcity dominated possession and field position, but the Brothers defence was equal to the task.
The Bulls got near or over the try-line four times in the first half, but came up empty, while the Brethren took their chances.
Edan Price got the first try in the 10th minute, running off an Ed Ansell pass, but big Seone Nuilia smashed his way over nine minutes later.
Up 10-0, Brothers kept the Bulls out with great scrambling defence before winger Noa Fotu swooped for a telling try seconds from half-time.
With Ansell’s conversion, Brothers were bolting at 16-0 but Southcity hit back in the 43rd minute with a glorious try to Jack Lyons.
Any thoughts of a barnstorming Bulls fightback were rocked minutes later when Ansell finished off a 75-metre surge to score.
Even with the penalties flowing 17-5 in their favour, the Bulls failed to mount concerted pressure, finishing with another two tries, including Steven Kemp’s effort right on full-time.
On a day when Brothers had all the stars, Aaron Wynne, Price, Luke Ryder, Nuilia and Black were outstanding.
BROTHERS 22 (E Price, E Ansell, S Nuilia, N Fotu tries; E Ansell 3 goals) d SOUTHCITY 12 (J Lyons, S Kemp, J Hodge tries)
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