Brothers in arms
MARIST Brothers centre Peter Jeffries scored two tries to help the Rams grind out an 18-16 victory against Byron Bay in their Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clash at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay, yesterday.
In miserable conditions, Jeffries showed enough urgency to cross the line twice as Brothers secured their first win of the season.
"The way it started I didn't think there was going to be two tries scored in the game at all," Jeffries said.
"It's a good win for us here and we took our chances today.
"We're building and I think we can really do something this year."
Jeffries didn't have to look far for inspiration with centre partner Dylan Coleman terrorising the opposition in attack and defence.
However, it couldn't have been a worse start for the Rams when they let in the softest of tries with Red Devils hooker Cale Rowston burrowing his way over from dummy-half in the opening minutes for a 4-0 lead.
The Red Devils had the better of possession in the first term but failed to capitalise.
A determined run from Brothers lock Leon King helped put Jeffries over for his first of the afternoon to level the scores at 4-all at half-time.
After the break Coleman somehow managed to stay in the field of play when he darted down the sideline and planted the ball over the try line as four Byron Bay defenders attempted to push him out.
Ahead 10-4, Rams winger Mitchell Krause threw a hospital pass in torrential rain that was dropped by fullback Kurt Mooney, allowing Byron Bay to pounce on the ball and score another soft try to lock it up at 10-all.
"We just had to keeping turning up and pushing forward on them," Brothers coach Adam Mayes said.
"We knew it was going to be a fight and my heart was in my mouth the whole time."
The Rams began to get repeat sets and a crucial penalty goal from front-rower Darryl Butcher put them back in the lead at 12-10.
The Red Devils then became their own worst enemies as the Brothers forwards started to warm to the occasion.
Consecutive penalties had the Red Devils on the back foot, giving Jefferies all the room he needed to score his second of the afternoon and extend the lead to 18-10.
The Red Devils didn't die wondering as Rowston crossed for his second with four minutes to go.
Byron had one last throw of the dice when trailing 18-16 in the final minute but a cut-out pass sailed over the sideline to seal their fate.
"You never want to lose at home and I'm pretty sure the effort was there," Red Devils captain Ryan O'Connell said.
"They (Brothers) played pretty smart with a big forward pack and we're not really a wet-weather team.
"Our forward pack has been unbelievable this year and you can't really fault anyone's effort."
O'Connell named lock Ben Webber and second-rower Eli Colby as Byron Bay's best.
Mayes was just happy to register his first win as a first-grade coach.
"I'm pretty inexperienced but these are the ones you want to win," Mayes said.
"It was a fairly high-quality game in these conditions and we toughed it out."
Hooker Paul O'Neill and second-rower Brendan Wall were the standouts for Brothers.
MARIST BROTHERS 18 (P Jeffries 2, D Coleman tries; Butcher 2 goals, penalty goal) d BYRON BAY 16 (C Rowston 2, R O'Connell tries; C King 2 goals).