Tigers roar: Norths end 19-year premiership drought
Jay Buchan, Queensland Times, 15/09/2014
THE 19-year wait for a Northern Suburbs premiership title is over.
The Tigers have built through the season and chose the perfect time yesterday to put together their defining performance – a 42-16 grand final win over Brothers.
There wasn’t a poor player on the field for Norths but the one person who took them from excellent to sublime was captain and five-eighth Josh Roberts.
Roberts setup Norths’ first two tries, one with a cut-out pass, the other with a step and acceleration through a gap to give them a 12-0 lead.
But Brothers were never going to go down without a fight, bursting back into the match with two tries of their own.
Norths weren’t going into their shells and halfback Ritchie Lowe put second rower Brent Newton over for an 18-10 half-time lead.
There were signs Brothers were spent when Norths prop Brad Oddi dived over from dummy half four minutes into the second half.
Then Roberts took the game by the throat.
Three times in quick succession he stormed on to the ball on the right edge, sending panic through the Brothers’ defence, eventually laying on a try for centre Tonga Mounga.
A couple of minutes later, Roberts did it all himself to score and the hesitancy in the Brothers defence was a sign the fight was over.
“It’s hard to explain it really,” Roberts said of how it felt after the game. “It was hard work.
“The score didn’t reflect how hard.
“We were gone at some stages, they were gone at stages.”
They are a loyal bunch at Norths, none more so than Roberts.
He has seen his title hopes dashed many times in his career.
But he always believed he could be part of the team that ended Norths’ title drought.
“I can’t wait to get back to the club, get a team photo and put it up on the wall,” he said.
For Brothers it was a disappointing end to a season in which they won the minor premiership despite a mass exodus of players from the club after last season.
The Brothers’ bench yesterday told the story of a team that had limped into the decider and had nothing left to give.
Prop Jack Boettcher was ill before the game and his front row partner Jake O’Doherty broke his wrist in the first half and played on.
Fellow senior forwards Elijah Umu, Josh Afoa and Troy Sharpe all spent extended periods on the bench when they were wanted on the paddock.
“I think everyone was injured in the end,” Boettcher said.
“I wouldn’t say we played our grand final last week.
“But that took it out of us.
“But Norths were too good so full credit to them.”
State of play
A grade grand final: Norths 42 (Tonga Mounga 2, Andrew Campbell, Brent Newton, Brad Oddi, Josh Roberts, Jarrod Biggs tries; Jarrod Biggs 7 goals) def Brothers 16 (Shane Picker, Elijah Umu, Damien West tries; Shane Picker, Cameron Picker goals).
Key moment: 49th minute. With Norths up 24-10, Josh Roberts moved in for the kill. Three times in quick succession he took the line on, once busting through and twice slipping passes in tackles that led to a try to centre Tonga Mounga, which broke Brothers’ resistance.