Gladiators earn first points
"THIS is atrocious,” Gayndah Gladiators coach Dave Madden said, sinking to his haunches on the sideline.
"They're killing us,” trainer Luke 'Spook' Schmierer murmured.
After putting Monto Roos to the sword in the first half, going to the sheds protecting a healthy 20-4 lead, Gladiators came out a different side in the second half, lethargic and sloppy.
The Roos were good enough to pounce, despite a weakened playing roster due to work commitments and worsened by injuries, which included Jarrod Dahtler (shoulder), who looks like he will be out for a few weeks.
They ran in two quick tries, first Tyson Dahtler, then Martin Bowman, who lumbered over the try line like freight train, carrying three Gladiators with him.
Suddenly, at 20-14, Gladiators weren't so confident and the Roos, so depleted they press-ganged coach Mat Dahtler into service, were roaring back into contention.
An arm wrestle ensued which only broke Gladiators way when Mitch Ballin saw a path through the guts from dummy-half, running 40 metres to plonk the ball below the goalposts, his second try after collecting a Zac Dann chip kick in the first half.
After that, the wily Callan Trott picked up a double late in the game, leading to a somewhat flattering final scoreline of 36-14.
Madden said the Gladiators' second half meltdown shows rugby league as a game is "90 per cent mental.”
"If we drop the ball it's because we're not switched on,” he said.
"When we are awake and switch on, we will go well.”
Madden said he was "frustrated” but glad they banked two competition points.
"When Monto get all their players back, they'll kill us if we play like that,” he said.
Madden praised the physicality of players Sam Oppermann, Zac Dann and Stuart Kirk.
"I've never seen a game with so many big hits,” he said.
"You could have charged spectators $50 entry and they would have gotten their money's worth.
"Monto dished it out too, it's fantastic as a spectacle.”
Coach Dahtler said he was a little sore Sunday morning after playing his first game of league in around five years.
However, he was happy with his team's performance, especially with the "greasy” conditions brought about by dew.
"I don't think I've ever seen a game with so many scrums,” Dahtler said.
He said the Roos will regroup with two weeks off before rallying for their two consecutive home games, where they will field close to a full-strength side.