WHAT do you do when you lose one inspirational Brien brother? You look to the other Brien brother to fire.
Cooper Brien's effort in the midfield proved a key factor in helping the Bathurst Giants to post their first AFL Central West men's tier one win of the season on Saturday, holding off Orange Tigers in a 12-14-86 to 12-9-81 thriller.
Cooper Brien worked hard to win contested possessions, he took nice grabs, delivered the Sherrin well to his team-mates and tackled with vigour.
It was an effort which earned mirrored those his older brother Bailey has so often produced in the orange and charcoal colours.
Bailey Brien skippered the Giants over a tough opening fortnight of the competition. He was players' player in the close loss to Dubbo then dislocated his shoulder in the round two Bathurst derby against Bushrangers.
It meant he was sidelined for the round three clash with Orange Tigers at George Park 1, but in his absence his brother stood up. Cooper Brien wasn't the only one either.
"Bailey Brien was a big out for us, but Cooper Brien has stepped up into his domain as our go to in the middle. He got our players' player," Giants coach Mark Kennedy said.
"The back line was good too, Jacob Molkentin who's now stepped into a captaincy role because Bailey is out and Luke Macauley who had stepped into our vice captain role played well."
Desperate for a win to kick-start their campaign, the Giants booted three majors to the Tigers' one in the opening term to open up an 11-point buffer.
That margin only slightly increased by half-time, inaccuracy inside 50 preventing the Giants from really taking control. They booted six behinds for the term.
"We just couldn't get away from them. Like we led all the time, led at every break," Kennedy said.
"Just inaccurate kicking in the second quarter kind of put us behind the eight ball a bit and in the last two quarters it was fairly even, they won both those quarters.
"Tigers, their tenacity at the football, they didn't give up the whole game, they pushed us right to the end."
With a quarter to play there was 11 points in it and as the Tigers rallied, Kennedy feared it would be another week without a win.
However, his side managed to hold on. Just.
"They kicked a couple of goals late and I thought 'Oh my God, they're going to come back'. So we took our time to reset, get back to the middle, we checked with the time keeper and there was 25 seconds left and it was only then I thought 'Okay, we've got it in the bag now'," the coach said.
"We just needed the win, we needed the w on the board, thank goodness we got it."
BATHURST GIANTS 12-14-86 (Paul Jenkins 4, Luke Macauley 2, Sam Sloan 2, Jack Goodsell 2, Leigh Monaghan, Chad Monaghan) defeated ORANGE TIGERS 12-9-81 (Peter Byrne 2, Darren Bush 2, Ike Dean, Jake Bates, Nick Modra, Kirk Phillips, Tyson Hannus, Sam Proudfoot, Callan Hunt, Dean Price)
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