THE Whitsunday Brahmans ended a three match losing streak with a 40-32 victory over Mackay Wests Tigers at Les Stagg Oval on Sunday.
At one stage, the Brahmans lead the match 22-4 and looked to have a commanding lead before Wests showed great character to fight back and find themselves only four points behind.
With the visitors looking dangerous towards the back end of the match, it took a brilliant solo try from Mick Newman to seal the win for the home side.
With only minutes left, the Tigers were attacking the Brahmans line and found themselves with an unmarked player.
Identifying the situation, Brahmans winger Newman took a risk by shooting out of the defensive line to cut off Wests' chance to level the match.
Newman managed to grab the ball and ran the length of the field to score his third and match-sealing try in front of a large and vocal home crowd at Proserpine.
Following the win, Brahmans captain-coach Trent Dally said he was very pleased to see his side back in the winner's circle.
“The boys showed plenty of courage today,” he said.
“We lost some key players early and a few of the bigger guys had to play a lot more minutes than they are used to, but they handled it well.
“You can't question this team's heart.”
After three straight defeats, this was a must-win match for the Brahmans.
They started the game by playing a very structured and disciplined style of football.
The Brahmans forwards set the platform early in the match, making good metres up the middle of the field with Matt Temby directing traffic.
The Whitsunday team were soon rewarded for their hard work after a perfectly weighted kick from five-eighth Dean Connell set up the opening try to Newman.
It wasn't long before the man of the moment Newman was in again after a sweeping passing movement saw the elusive winger touch down in the corner.
Reece Kaka was then injected into the game and ran 60 metres to score the Brahmans' third try of the match.
But at that point, complacency set in.
The Brahmans took their feet off the accelerator and disappointingly went into the break with only a 10-point lead.
The second half proved to be a real battle as the tough game began to take its toll on the Whitsunday team.
Early injuries to Sean Bovis (ribs) and Dan Welsh (knee) had reduced the Brahmans to 15 players and when big prop Jack Burke was carried off with a knee injury, things were looking grim for the home side.
Fortunately, Newman scored his third try and the Brahmans held on for a courageous win, but Dally is not about to pop the champagne.
“22-4 is a match winning lead isn't it?” he said.
“We showed how good we can be when we are disciplined. But until we can produce that over 80 minutes we can't call ourselves contenders.”
Even so, the Brahmans have plenty to be pleased about.
“Today was a great day for the club,” Dally said.
“The girls had their first win of the year and our reserve grade side made it eight straight.
“The club is in good shape.”
Following first grade's first win in four weeks, the ‘One of ours' chant was heard loud and clear from the dressing rooms.
This Sunday, all three teams travel to Mackay to face the Magpies club.
Women's kick-off is at 12pm; reserves is at 1.30pm; and the main game starts at 3pm.
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