Player injury brings rugby grand final to lengthy halt
RUGBY UNION: Brothers have reigned supreme in an A-grade grand final that was halted for more than an hour after a player suffered what was feared to be a serious neck injury.
They claimed the Rugby Capricornia crown with a 28-19 win over Gladstone in the drama-charged decider at Rockhampton’s Victoria Park on Saturday.
Brothers had established an 18-point lead before Gladstone prop Jedediah Griffiths was injured with just under seven minutes left in the first half.
It is understood a scrum collapsed on top of him.
The game was stopped and he was treated by first aid officers who monitored him closely before an ambulance arrived and he was taken to Rockhampton Hospital.
Both teams did drills and stretches during the lengthy stoppage, and it was Gladstone that fired into action when play resumed.
Skipper Alex Clark implored his players to “do it for Jed” - and they responded.
Within a minute of clapping their injured teammate away in the ambulance, they crossed for their first points.
A second try right on half-time had them back in the contest at 18-12.
It was Brothers who were first on the scoreboard in the second half, landing a penalty and scoring another try to extend their lead to 28-12.
Gladstone scored late to make the final scoreline 28-19.
Brothers co-captain Riley Mertin could not hide his elation at the post-match interview.
He said it was a fantastic result for the team and the club, which is celebrating its 50th year.
“Words can’t describe it. That’s the best feeling ever,” he said.
“From 1 to 15, even off our bench, everyone turned up today as we knew we all would.
“It’s a different calibre of rugby, coming to grand final time, and we’re lucky enough to have the experience in our team to know what level it takes.”
Mertin said the talk among the team at half-time, following Gladstone’s two-try resurgence, was about staying calm and sticking to the game plan.
“We started the first half off well, we just needed to get back to that mentality,” he said.
“Once we showed our feet again it just showed on the field how good a rugby team we are.
“We just needed to stay true to our colours and that paid dividends in the end.”
Clark said Gladstone gave it everything in the final.
“We definitely emptied the tank at the end. Unfortunately, Brothers just outplayed us, they are a very rugby smart team and it showed on the day,” he said.
Grand final results
A-grade men: Brothers d Gladstone 28-19
Women’s 7s: Brothers d Gladstone 17-0
Reserve grade: Colts d Biloela 35-6