Round 11 of the Intrust Super Cup produced plenty of excitement and great rugby league, with not one but two 1 point wins and some tense finishes combined with big scores and great attacking rugby league.
There were some good news stories for teams who have had poor starts to the season, whilst down at the bottom there continues to be more hard luck stories.
Finally this round has opened up the possibility that someone other than the Townsville Blackhawks could win this competition.
Here’s how they stand after 11 rounds. Whilst the midfield caught up to the top this weekend, it is worth noting that 5 of the top 6 have yet to get their bonus two points for a bye.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls,11,8,3,0,301,187,114,16
Tweed Heads Seagulls,11,4,6,1,212,244,-32,10
Souths Logan Magpies,11,3,7,1,229,290,-61,8
Sunshine Coast Falcons,11,2,8,1,156,324,-168,6
IPSWICH JETS 32 def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 16 @ North Ipswich Reserve (H/T 12-12)
In a weekend where NRL on Saturday had just the one game, the real Super Saturday was on show in the Intrust Super Cup.
The first of three big games was played at Ipswich as the home side grabbed their fourth win in a row, and importantly drew level with the Townsville Blackhawks on points if not points difference.
It didn’t go all the Jets way though, as the Seagulls were first to score in a first half that went back and forth. The Jets scored the next two tries in their usual dynamic attacking fashion including the first of the afternoon to Marmin Barba to lead 12-6 just before half time. Although it was a lead which didn’t make it to the break as the Seagulls scored late thanks to Matt Srama.
The back and forth continued after the break with Ipswich scoring, only to be matched by Tweed not long after and 16-16 it was. The Jets then turned on the style scoring three tries to go on and win the match, including a 100m special for Marmin Barba’s second of the afternoon.
With the Blackhawks looking human all of a sudden it was the perfect weekend for the Jets to prove their claims for this year’s title. The look for their fifth straight win will be tested by the resurgent Souths Logan Magpies next weekend. Tweed are vying for the best on the Gold Coast title when they take on the Bears.
PNG HUNTERS 22 def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16 @ Jack Manski Oval (H/T 10-4)
Anyone taking advantage of the excellent live streaming service for this game from the QRL website for this game were rewarded with a game of high quality and excitement, and an upset that very few (except this column) saw coming.
Townsville had won eight in a row before this game, demolishing sides by 30, 40, 50 and in one case 72 points. It was almost as if the other teams were playing for second. Their opponents on Saturday afternoon – the PNG Hunters – were on their own run of four wins in a row, and so the scene was set for a good show. And what a show.
Townsville were affected by some players stepping up to the Cowboys, and the Hunters were the team on the front foot early with an early try and enough ball and chances in the first half to be 20 points ahead. Despite the possession they only led by one try, and that was eroded when Townsville crossed for a try that looked ominously simple given the scoring prowess of the Blackhawks.
However the PNG Hunters always looked like they had tries in them, and one duly arrived just before half time to give them a valuable half time lead, remembering that the only loss for Townsville had come after being behind at half time for the only other time this year.
The Blackhawks hit back first in the second half, and once again an air of inevitability took over at Jack Manski Oval. But the Hunters are no ordinary side, and despite the pressure they continued to attack as only they can, and produced two quick tries to build a 22-10 lead, but with plenty of time for Townsville to respond.
And respond they did with plenty of ball, and it looked like the 12 point lead would not be enough, but occasional mistakes and a willing PNG defence limited the home side to just one more try, and their desire to win was typified by a late diving tackle against the posts to save a try and give the Hunter a win that gives them a fifth in a row and refreshes the rest of the competition.
What might be lost in the wash up of the upset was the Hunters keeping Townsville to their lowest score for the year, adding another element to the devil may care attack that earns the admiration of those watching.
Both teams get the chance to catch their breath next round with a bye for each side with the Hunters probably wishing they could keep going. It will guarantee PNG stay in the top 5 and Blackhawks stay on top for another week. Unless Ipswich win by 181 points next weekend.
NORTHERN PRIDE 21 def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 20 @ BMD Kougari Oval (H/T 14-8)
The meeting of two teams that have four of the last five titles to their name was always going to be a high quality battle, and it produced just that plus an ending that rounded off Super Saturday in the most exciting of fashion. This instalment went to the away side northern Pride who eventually got the two points after a see sawing finish.
The first half saw three tries to the visiting Pride and one try plus a penalty goal to the Seagulls to leave the score 14-8 to the Cairns based side at the break.
The first try of the second half went to Daniel Ogden for Wynnum who continued his tremendous runs of try scoring in 2015, and the scores were now locked at 14-14. With seven minutes to go the Pride kicked a field goal to take a one point advantage into the final passages of play. Instead of responding with a one pointer of their own, the Seagulls scored a try that they thought had sewn up two valuable points and to remain equal second after Ipswich’s earlier win.
But the Pride showed the quality that had taken them to Queensland Cups and the first State Championship as they chanced their arm in their own end of the field on the last tackle of their last set, and their halfback Sam Obst made the break that was finished off by Tom Hancock to give the Pride a thrilling one point win once the conversion from in front was kicked successfully.
The Pride move within a win of fifth placed, but are still three behind their Saturday night opponents in third.
Northern Pride get face one of their northern rivals next weekend in the form of the Mackay Cutters in Cairns, whilst the rivalry round for Wynnum takes them to their northern bayside rivals at Redcliffe.
REDCLIFFE 68 def CENTRAL CAPRAS 16 @ Dolphin Oval (H/T 22-6)
The Redcliffe Dolphins ended their year long drought at Dolphin Oval in some style on a perfect Sunday afternoon in front of the Channel 9 cameras with a huge 68 – 16 win over the last placed Central Capras.
The home fans might have been left wondering if their awful run in Redcliffe was going to continue for yet another week after the Capras scored first. It was a short lived concern as Redcliffe began their dismantling of the away side with tries in quick time to take a big lead into the break.
Redcliffe dominated much of the second half on the back of some great attacking play helped by two 40-20 kicks as the wind that Redcliffe ran against in the first half turned into a second half advantage. Just when Redcliffe has amassed enough points to look comfortable the Capras scored two tries to reduce the gap with enough time to make the final score interesting.
It was to be the last of the Capras’ good times as Redcliffe went on a frenzy of try scoring including two in the last three to run out huge 52 point winners and consign the visitors to a ninth loss to accompany their only win in round 1. Redcliffe meanwhile have now won three in a row and have broken their home ground hoodoo.
They get that new home form tested by the arrival of Wynnum manly next weekend, whilst Central will be glad to be back in Rockhampton next weekend and welcoming the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
EASTS TIGERS 60 def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 @ Tapout Energy Stadium (H/T 28-0)
The question of which of Melbourne Storm’s feeder sides was the superior in the Intrust Super Cup was answered emphatically at Tapout Energy Stadium on Sunday afternoon with the Easts Tigers returning to situation normal at home with a big win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Whilst the Falcons weren’t helped by the late pull outs of big names Ben Hampton and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, their appearance may not have made too much difference when the Tigers are on song.
A better full report of the game can be found courtesy of Tiger TV’s Matt Crowhurst. http://www.qrl.com.au/news/2015/05/25/easts_find_form_agai.html
Easts will take the short trip across the river to play Norths next weekend, whilst the struggling Falcons take on the equally struggling Capras in Rockhampton.
BURLEIGH BEARS 23 def MACKAY CUTTERS 22 @ Pizzey Park (H/T Mackay 16-12)
Burleigh arrested a two game losing streak and handed that statistic over to their visitor Mackay on Sunday afternoon as the Cutters who were equal second and playing for outright second two weeks ago and now sit fifth.
Amongst those two losses for the Bears was their last start loss to Townsville by 72 points, one could imagine that they were keen to make amends after a week off last weekend, and it looks the bye they received after that game has worked the trick as they return to the winners circle.
It didn’t go all their way though on Sunday with Mackay scoring three tries to one in the first 23 minutes to lead 16-6 and look like getting back on track. But Burleigh battled away and were rewarded before half time to reduce the gap at the break to 16-12, and rewarded again after half time to drew level with the Cutters for the second time in the game.
At 16-16 it was obviously anyone’s game, and Mackay took the initiative to take the lead for the third time of the afternoon, but their lead was pegged back once again by Burleigh, setting up a tense finale for all involved.
With 6 minutes to go the Bears took the lead for the first time of the afternoon, and importantly the only lead they needed as they held on for a valuable two points moving within two points of the fifth placed Cutters in eighth.
Burleigh don’t go too far next weekend as they take on Tweed for the title of best on the coast, Mackay are playing for a similar title of North Queensland against the Pride.
SOUTHS LOGAN 42 MAGPIES def NORTHS DEVILS 4 @ Davies Pk (H/T 24-4)
Proof that the Souths Logan are back was on show on Sunday as the Magpies won their second game in a row and broke a long run of losses at Davies Park on Sunday and poured more misery on the Norths Devils who have only the Central Capras as a cushion to last place on the ladder.
The recruitment of Ash Taylor has co-incided with the upturn in performances and wins for the Magpies, and once again it has to be mentioned the value of the Queensland Cup as a proving ground for NRL wannabes.
The seven tries to one win showcased the turnaround of the Magpies who up until last weekend had only a second round win to their name. It also highlighted the continuing woes of the Devils who were in the game at 12-6 after two early Magpies tries, but two more tries before half time and another three after the break gave the loyal fans at Davies Park a rare Sunday afternoon reason to cheer.
Whilst both teams have three wins each, the 2 points earned for the bye and a much healthier for and against sees South Logan in 11th and the Devils second last.
Souths Logan take their home game on the road for the second time this year as they bring Ipswich to give Cherbourg a taste of the Intrust Super Cup. Norths return to Bishop Park for the unenviable task of halting their form slide against the Tigers, fresh off a 48 point win.
IPSWICH JETS 32 (Marmin Barba 2, Chris Walker, Nemani Valekapa, Sam Martin, Billy McConnachie tries; Carlin Anderson 4 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 16 (Matt Srama, Matt Robinson, Leva Li tries; Jamal Fogarty 2 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
PNG HUNTERS 22 (Thompson Teteh, Israel Eliab, Ase Boas, Enock Maki: goals Noel Zeming 3) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16 (Kyle Feldt, Tom Humble, Noel Underwood: goals Feldt 2
NORTHERN PRIDE 21 (Luke George, Bradley Stephen, Sam Obst, Tom Hancock tries; Hezron Murgha 2 goals; Ryan Ghietti field goal) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 20 (Daniel Ogden, Greg Eden, Mitchell Frei tries; Matthew Seamark 4 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 68 (Curtis Johnston 3, Anthony Cherrington 2, Josh Beehag, Joe Bradley, Josh Rudolph, Luke Capewell, Jon Green, Darcy Etrich, Harley Aiono tries; Luke Capewell 10 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 16 (Jake Ainsworth, Jacob Gagai, Garrett Field tries; Matt Minto, Ian Webster goals) at Dolphin Oval.
EASTS TIGERS 60 (Richie Kennar 2, Eddie Tautali 2, Matt Duffie 2, Cameron Munster, Michael Kai, Shaun Nona, Tommy Butterfield, Dane Hogan tries; Shaun Nona 8 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Sam Young, Billy Brittain tries; Ryan Hansen 2 goals) at Tapout Energy Stadium, Langlands Park.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 42 (Josh Damen, Samisoni Vaioleti, Dallas Anderson, Matt Trnka, Jack Joass, Travis Waddell, Phil Dennis tries; Scott Doyle 6, Ashley Taylor goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 4 (Rogan Dean try) at Davies Park.
BURLEIGH BEARS 23 (Brad Tighe 2, Kevin Gordon, Tom Rowles tries; Tyler Chadburn 3 goals; Ryley Jacks field goal) def MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Sam Clune, Tyson Martin, Zack Walker, Aleki Falepaini tries; Liam Taylor 3 goals) at Pizzey Park.
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