Brothers have been left to wonder what could have been after a once promising season ended in two big finals losses.
The Wagga side’s year came to an end at Equex Centre on Sunday with Gundagai proving to be in a different class.
After a 28-6 loss to Southcity in the first week of the finals, Brothers fell 36-12 in the preliminary final.
Playing without five-eighth Peter Little, halfback Cameron Breust, centre Ethan MacKenzie and hooker Aaron Wynne it was always going to be a big task taking on the experienced side.
Coach Terry Westblade was disappointed with how their hopes faded away.
“It was disappointing, but full credit to the guys,” Westblade said.
“It is really hard to compete when so many guys are out of position.
“It was makeshift and you can get by in reserve grade, but in first grade it is really hard.
“I’m still really proud of them though.
“We pretty much put a team on the park and asked them to do their best.
“They did that but it is a really hard assignment against tough teams in Southcity and Gundagai, they are very professional and well coached.”
The Tigers proved way too strong on Sunday.
They went out to a 16-0 half-time lead thanks to a double from Damian Willis and added to their lead in the first set of the second half.
Brothers got on the board through Brady Collins three minutes into the half but any hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished by the Tigers.
After leading the competition for most of the season the last month turned into more of a nightmare for the club chasing its first title since 1995 after losing four of their last five games.
Despite the poor end to the season, Westblade believes there has been plenty of positives from the year.
Making the finals for the first time in eight years heads the list.
“It was a great year and we achieved a few goals throughout the year,” he said.
“We were fairly consistent but just run out of troops in the end.
“That become the hardest thing.”
Westblade was pleased to give a number of the younger generation of Brothers a taste of the top grade.
After coming in midway through last season after the sacking on Ben Black, Westblade is handing over the coaching reins to Little.
He believes there will be plenty to work with.
“If they stick together they will go well over the next couple of years,” Westblade said.
“Peter will do a job good and knows his footy.
“I’ll come back and visit Wagga which will be nice.”