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Brothers, Northern Sharks win on first weekend of NRL NT finals

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Brothers are 40 minutes away from a 16th premiership after they trounced Palmerston 32-12 last night to book their spot in the NRL NT grand final.

The Raiders went through the regular season undefeated and had won both previous encounters between the two sides. However, they were no match for Michael MacLean’s men at Rugby Park.

Brothers took a 16-0 lead into the break, with Rodney Barba the star of the first 40 minutes.

After playing most of the regular season off the interchange bench, MacLean elevated Barba into the starting side at five-eighth.

It proved a masterstroke.

He kicked a 40/20 in the first set of the game, before scoring a try himself.

Barba wearing the number six meant captain Leon Rotumah was shifted into the three-quarter line.

The two-time Frank Johnson medallist scored his side’s first try off the back of a scrum, using his pace to get on the outside of his man and stroll over. His centre partner on the right, Joey Forester was equally as destructive, making a number of barnstorming busts.

The Raiders missed the zip of gun centre Matthew Johnson and the creativity of half Matty Bennett who were both absent. Notwithstanding, their presence wouldn’t have changed the flow of the game. The Raiders were unable to cope with Brothers’ energy.

The Brethren continued to roll on in the second half, scoring another three four-pointers through Josh Saveka, Daniel Good and Danny Warren. Palmerston scored two consolation tries in the final 20 minutes.

The Raiders will face the Northern Sharks in next week’s preliminary final after the reigning premiers demolished Litchfield 44-12.

The Bears had no answer to the Sharks attack. Anthony Castro’s men led 28-0 at half time and continued to dominate in the second period.

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