The Tigers are profoundly disappointed that they threw away their chances to remain at the top of the leaderboard with a win over Inglewood on Saturday, instead going down to their chief rivals 46-40 in a spectacular finish that could have gone either way.
Captain/coach Brendan Minns said the Tigers were leading 24-0 around 25 minutes into the game, which was played in Stanthorpe as one of this season’s doubleheaders.
“A couple of penalties and errors gave them field position and opportunity, and by halftime it was 24-18.”
An Inglewood try just into the second half brought the score to 40-24, with the Roosters clawing back points to arrive at a 40-all scoreline just a minute out from fulltime.
Inglewood then maximised an opportunity and ran the ball down the length of the field to cross the line for a fulltime score of 46-40.
“It’s the third time we’ve lost the Patrons Cup,” Minns said.
The Patron’s Cup is played between the two top teams when they meet following the third round of the competition.
“We lost to Stanthorpe two years ago, to Inglewood last year and now again to Inglewood,” Minns said.
He doesn’t feel that fitness or lack of it was the issue.
“If you’re not fit at this stage of the season you’re never going to be,” he said.
“And we shouldn’t be relying on fitness anyway. This was due to errors.”
Minns said the team gave away silly penalties, walking the Rooster all the way up the field. He said the Tigers’ defence was also below par, especially when compared to the previous week’s effort.
“It was disappointing. We were missing a couple of players but there’s no excuses.”
The win now puts Inglewood one point ahead of Tenterfield, with a minor premiership and a home grand final for the Tigers now a remote chance. It would require Ingelwood to lose against Killarney or Stanthorpe whom they play in the last two games of the rounds.
At best, if the Tigers win their remaining games against the same two teams they get a home semifinal against Killarney and, if successful, go up against Inglewood on its home turf in the grand final. Not that victory over Killarney next Saturday at on their home ground is in any way assured.
“It will be a massive test for us after the way we played on Saturday,” Minns said.
The Cutters beat Stanthorpe 26-16 on Saturday with only 12 players.
“We’ve got to finish the comp off well,” Minns said.
“We’ve got to work on our defence and rectify the issues in the next two weeks before we worry about the finals.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve proved we can score 40 points in a game. The fact that 86 points were scored overall is fairly ridiculous.
“It shouldn’t all come down to the last minute. There’s 80 minutes of football and we need to be better for all of them.”