IT WAS a fitting send off for Phil Ramage who ended his career in Whitsunday Brahman colours last night.
The player and coach not only led his team to the 2017 Mackay and District Rugby League 2017 premiership, but also earn man of the match on the way to a victory over Wests Tiger at BBPrint stadium, 31-6.
A massive green army made the trip south to see the Brahmans try to redeem themselves after going down in last year's grand final and they weren't disappointed.
But early on it was Wests who were their own worse enemy.
The boys form Walkerston had a shaky starts with unforced errors early in the game giving the Brahmans good field position for most of the first 20 minutes.
Tries from Adam Wright and fullback Rainer Power had the Brahmans leading 10-0 in the first 10 minutes before Wests started to see more of the ball.
The score line could have been much worse, but for some textbook line defence from Wests when it was needed.
Ramage was guiding his team with his boot and bombed to try and break down the Wests defensive line that was working hard most of the first half.
He was targeted by the opposition and after a bomb with 15 minutes to go in the first half he was floored in a two-man tackle after the kick. There was no penalty but the Brahmans general was slow to get up.
Wests were starting to get tired from the relentless defending as the first half closed giving second rower Darvy Wright the chance to break through the line and offload to prop Adam Curtis who scored under the posts.
The few attacking opportunities that Wests had were uninspired, but when Tigers passed the ball wide some weakness was found in the Brahmans defence and they pounced.
Five minutes to go in the first half and centre Zac Walker cross the line for the home team, giving Wests fans something to cheer about and give the Brahmans something to worry about in the sheds with the score line at 18-6.
Despite the minor premiers' best efforts, injuries and having a punishing game last week against Souths costs them in the second half.
Brahmans kepts the peddle down testing the Wests defensive line.
The two Brahman tries in the second half came from second phase play when a player broke the line, but the Tigers were too tired to get back to defend their line and a quick play the ball had Whitsunday in again.
Ramage said after the game that the Brahmans prided themselves on their fitness and in the second half it showed.
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