Brothers defuse Bombers
AS far as Fassifern have come this season, beating Brothers still remains a bridge too far.
The reigning premiers proved too strong for the Bombers for the second time this season with a solid 25-12 win at Brother Seery Oval yesterday.
Wingers Ben Seve and Jarryd Donkin each scored doubles as the home side took advantage of Fassifern's inability to diffuse a constant stream of bombs.
Both sides went to the air at every opportunity with Brothers the better of the two sides under the high ball.
The greasy conditions made handling difficult for both teams with plenty of dropped ball.
In the end, better ball control and solid goal-line defence from Brothers, particularly in the first half, was the difference between the two teams.
Fassifern dominated both possession and field position in the opening half but struggled to convert pressure into points against a desperate Brothers defensive line.
Andrew Walker proved a handful for the Brothers' defence but he had few helpers on a disappointing day for the Bombers.
But the former NRL star did produce the play of the day early in the second half.
After Donkin had crossed to give the home side a 14-6 lead, Walker caught the Brothers' defence napping with a short grubber re-start.
Replacement forward Mahe Paseka swooped on the loose ball, beating multiple tacklers before being brought down just short of the tryline.
A penalty followed and within two tackles the pair combined again as Walker gift wrapped a perfect flat ball for the rampaging forward to score under the posts.
But those highlights were few and far between as the professional Brothers outfit showed there is still a gap in class between the two sides.
The double to winger Seve catapults him to the top of the IRL try-scoring list with 10 for the season.
Now 32, the veteran winger said he is enjoying his try-scoring spree.
"Yeah I'm going alright," Seve said. "I'm getting a bit old, I've only got another three years before I play Masters. But I got another double today so I'm happy.
"The legs are holding up pretty well so I'm enjoying it."
The Diggers representative player said Brothers had worked very hard on their ruck defence this season and it was beginning to pay dividends.
He also said they had focused on cutting down Walker's passing options in the lead-up to the top of the table game.
"We knew Andrew has guys running off him on both the inside and outside," he said.
"At training we worked on closing off his options and putting pressure on him."
At Llewellyn Motors Field, Swifts fell agonisingly short of the upset of the round with a 32-30 loss to Norths.
The home side had a late chance to snatch a draw when they won a penalty 30 metres out in front of the Norths goal posts.
Stephen O'Donohue looked to have struck the ball truly but the ball, heavy from the waterlogged playing field, fell just short to cross under the crossbar.
Despite the loss, it was a much improved and disciplined performance from Swifts after a midweek player meeting was called to address discipline issues.
The win keeps Norths in touch with Brothers at the top of the competition table.