Delicate moment that secured rematch for grand final
YOU will never see a better grubber kick than Ben Kenny's 12 minutes into the second half of the semi final between Gayndah Gladiators and Monto Roos.
Or rather, you might, but you would probably be watching it on television.
It dropped onto his boot with the delicacy of mist falling upon one's face and Gladiators captain Zac Dann raced through to ground it safely for a try.
The roar that erupted from Dann showed how important the play was.
Before that, the two teams had traded blows. Each time it seemed Gladiators would run away, Roos would peg one back, usually via Jarod Dahtler, who would go on to score a hat-trick, or Shane Carter, whose offloads have been unlocking teams all season, the semi final being no different.
The Roos were also helped by a pair of booming 40-20 kicks, that helped turn the momentum.
The teams went in to half time at 16-14 and before Kenny's magical play, Gladiators were protecting a narrow 22-20 lead.
Inspired, two minutes later, a rampaging Liam Gooden run down the left hand side sent Shane Morgan over, the score suddenly ballooning to 32-20.
Take out that brief passage of play and the 44-32 final score becomes 32-32, and we all know that anything can happen during golden point.
It was a bruising encounter, with both teams trading big hits, and a fascinating one to watch. A Carter try, just reward for another fine game, with nine minutes to go put the scores at 38-32 and it was only a Mackenzie Kenny try with four minutes to go which put the result beyond question.
Aside from the Citrus Cup, it was also the loudest game of the season, courtesy of a bus load of Roos supporters that screamed themselves hoarse in the licensed area.
Gladiators coach Dave Madden said he was proud of his team for their effort.
"Monto came ready to play, if we weren't ready to play, we would have lost,” he said.
"If we played Monto the way we played Mundubbera (two weeks ago), we would have lost by 20 points.
"40-20s, charge downs, drop outs, they were so impressive.
"The week before, there were 28 errors, the semi-final we made 11.”
Madden said the rubbing out of Tyler George-Burns has put a fire in the Gladiators' bellies.
Roos coach Mat Dahlter said it was a close-run thing.
"The bounce of the ball just didn't go our way a couple of times,” he said.
Dahlter said, provided the core of his squad stuck around for the next season, the Roos would be much better for the run.
"We're pretty happy with our season, comparing the semi-final to some of the touch-ups we received earlier on,” he said.
Gayndah Gladiators 44 (Tries: M. Kenny 2, L. George, S. Kirk, Z. Dann, S. Morgan, H. Morgan, J. Taylor. Conversions: Z. Dann 6) def Monto Roos (Tries: J. Dahtler 3, B. Dahtler, W. Blythe, S. Carter. Conversions: J. Dahtler 3, T. Curtis) 32.