Round 2 2021 – Review

The Brookers were widely touted to be one of the league’s biggest improvers after landing prized recruits Luke Gestier and John Mitchell over the off-season.

After an even first-half, Holbrook was able to keep the Saints goalless until late in the final-quarter on its way to an impressive 10.6 (68) to 8.9 (57) win.

High-profile recruit Damian Cupido made his first appearance for the Saints and kicked three goals opposed to Hayden Smith.

Cupido looked dangerous early but was starved of opportunities in the second-half as the Brookers’ midfield started to assert their authority.

Gestier proved to be the most damaging forward with four goals including three in the first-half to keep the Brookers in touch with the opposition after they opened up a 15-point lead midway through the second quarter.

But the Brookers kicked six unanswered goals as coach Matt Sharp, ruckman Randal Taylor and Brock Knights in defence all lifted their workrate.

Sharp was delighted to claim a big scalp early.

“I felt like we have put a good squad together over the past three to four years and were able to add to that since 2019,” Sharp said.

“I still feel Brock-Burrum’s top eight players are as good as any in the competition and are a proud club and we all strive to be as successful as they have been.

“I was happy with our energy and the way we were able to hunt the ball and kick the goals as a reward.

“I thought we spread really well.

“We have been training, here, there and everywhere over the pre-season on small grounds with our ground out of action.

“But full credit to the boys, they took it on the chin, had a home match at Walla and were able to get the points.”

Brooker spearhead Andrew Dear made the switch from attack to defence in the absence of Luke Carman.

The victors were also missing prized recruit John Mitchell.

Sharp praised his defence for keeping the opposition goalless in the second-half until the dying minutes of the final quarter.

“They are our rock and we are a bit undersized down there but the blokes keep getting the job done.”

After an even first term the home side sent an ominous warning as they booted 21 goals to one on their way to a percentage boosting 24.9 (153) to 3.12 (30) win.

Connor Galvin was back to his electrifying best for the reigning premiers with a best-on-ground display.

While Sam Rutland, Kodie O’Malley and Bahr also ran amok in the thumping victory.

Coach Joel Mackie said it was a big occasion for the club and the players responded accordingly.

“It was nice to be playing our first home match and it was a big occasion,” Mackie said.

“The boys set themselves to pay tribute to Marty Bahr who is one of the most popular players around the club.

“He is much loved within the group and I think it’s fair to say widely respected throughout the league which is a credit to him.

“The Giants really put it to us in the first term and were right in the match.

“But the boys really responded and we were able to get things on our terms a lot quicker than I thought we would.

“We were able to run the match right out which I feel is one of our strengths after a big pre-season.”

The only sour note for the raging flag favourite was a hamstring injury to Mackie.

Mackie hobbled off during the second quarter and is expected to miss at least the next fortnight.

“It’s nothing too serious and I only felt a slight twinge,” Mackie said.

“But it’s only early in the season and I will take a cautious approach and probably miss the next two matches and three at the most.”

Osborne also scored a thumping win in the reserves and has players the calibre of Matt Rava and Clancy Galvin dominating and are expected to press for senior selection in the coming weeks.