Marist Brothers Nathan Tolley takes on Murwillumbah Mustangs
Marist Brothers Nathan Tolley takes on Murwillumbah Mustangs

Brothers, where art thou

By STEVE SPINKS

MARIST Brothers rugby league coach Craig Hodges managed a slight chuckle when told of his side's record-breaking season.

Unfortunately for Hodges and his team, they have broken a record they wanted to keep.

Not since 1995 has a Brothers team failed to make a grand final.

But the Rams' brilliant run of grand final appearances ended yesterday when they were knocked out in the BCU Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League preliminary final against Murwillumbah 34-12 at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah.

The Mustangs built their victory on some brutal defence and the lightning pace of fullback Shannon Murphy, who scored three tries, and Brothers produced their worst performance in the finals series.

However, Hodges and his team shouldn't take the loss too badly considering the previous nine grand final teams from Brothers were competing in the old Group One competition.

This year's team had to contend with a step up in class against some hot Group 18 sides.

They produced enough to suggest that they could threaten in years to come.

"I guess that makes me the most unsuccessful Marist Brothers coach in a while," Hodges chuckled after the match.

"We're not looking for excuses. After we (the club) get over the emotion of today we'll probably look at the year as a positive, especially when you consider the number of players we've blooded."

But Hodges couldn't hide the disappointment with the way his side bowed out of the inaugural NRRRL.

"We were a different side today and I think the nerves got to us," he said.

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