Tigers maul Gladiators in Citrus Cup grudge match
AN UNCHARACTERISTICALLY generous display by Gayndah Gladiators gifted Mundubbera Tigers the 2019 Citrus Cup, as they conceded three quick tries at the start of the second half to go down 34-22 in the iconic grudge match.
Gladiators coach Dave Madden said when he reviewed the footage after the match he counted 25 handling errors and penalties.
"We were mentally not strong enough, we thought, 'This will be too easy',” Madden said.
"I thought that too,” he conceded.
One of the most egregious handling errors was committed by your journalist, who was more concerned about the man over the shoulder than the ball overhead.
The fumble allowed Elijah Barsah in for Tigers' third try in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and from 34-12 the task would always be too steep for the Gladiators, although late tries to Mackenzie Kenny and Zac Dann gave the men in green hope.
Gladiators had started well, with a penalty and Kenny's first try securing a 6-0 lead, but after man of the match Daniel West-Pes began firing, scoring his first of two tries, Tigers found another gear which Gladiators couldn't match.
A key play was in the minute or so before half-time, when a penalty tap from near the 10m mark sent Bailey Kimber crashing through the green wall, allowing the Tigers a coveted 18-12 lead at half-time.
Tigers coach Shannon Steinhardt said his side lacked intensity for the first 10-15 minutes of the match.
"We had a talk at the break, they weren't doing anything we had talked about at training,” Steinhardt said.
"We were just going one out, single runners and passing when we didn't need to, standing too flat and there was no direction from the halves.”
Part of this was caused by the late scratching of fullback Eniokeli Foki, who injured his eye socket in the 47th Battalion Carnival, necessitating a player shuffle.
Aside from West-Pes, Steinhardt nominated the defensive effort of Mark Fischer as a key performance.
Victorious captain Cameron MacDonald also nominated Fischer's work as key to the Tigers, as well as Bailey Kimber's, one of several players who backed up from 47th Battalion Carnival.
"I rate it higher than the grand final,” MacDonald said.