IPSWICH JETS – Premiers & State Championship Winners
Season Record – 3
rd – Played 25 Won 16 Lost 7 Draws 0 Byes 2 F/A Diff +198

Best Game – Ipswich 26 PNG 12 in Finals
Completely closed down the Hunters, and although helped by PNG errors, were the dominant team throughout and earned their grand final appearance. Although all their finals series wins could be their best.

Season Round Up
The Jets have been one of the talking points all year as their unorthodox style of rugby league has captured the interest of rugby league fans and with their storming finals run leading to an Intrust Super Cup and State Championship win, they now have showcased their wares to the rugby league world and proved that their style can win trophies as well as entertain.

They were in the Top 6 for the majority of the season and they headed the bunch of teams just behind the dominant Townsville Blackhawks and PNG Hunters after the regular season was completed. But it was their attacking style and different plays like short kick offs every time and side to side to side movement, encouraged by the rare dual head coaches in Ben and Shane Walker that got a lot the attention in 2015. Thankfully for the Jets not enough attention to lose their coaches and too many players in 2016. Yet.

Matt Parcell impressed enough to be part of the rebuilding at Manly next year and five eighth Josh Cleeland is rumoured to be heading to Penrith. Fullback Carlin Anderson will be a Bronco in 2016.  With a link up to the Broncos they may lose a few more in 2016. Billy McConnachie may also tempt NRL clubs after two great finals performances.

It was an incredible finals run that saw them hold off strong opposition comfortably, defeating the all-powerful Townsville side in the ISC Grand Final and then to hang on against Newcastle on NRL Grand Final day, it is hard to argue against their title as the best second tier rugby league in Australia. May their style continue to entertain for seasons to come.

TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS – Minor Premiers – Lost in Grand Final
Season Record – 1st – P 25 – W 19 – L 3 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A +507

Best Game – Townsville 78 Burleigh 6
The biggest of a season of big wins, 78 points being some kind of feat, especially for a team in its first season despite arguments of a lot of experience.

Season Round Up
An incredible first season for the men from Townsville as they fell just short of a premiership in their first season in the Intrust Super Cup. Full of experience and promising Cowboys contracted players like Neville Costigan, Glenn Hall, Zac Santo for example, the Blackhawks were better equipped than any other side coming into the Intrust Super Cup before them.

At one stage it looked a mere formality that the Townsville side would claim the title in their first season but they ended up in a fight to the last week of the season with the PNG Hunters for the minor premiership.  The gap closing when PNG beat them for the first of two times in the regular season. It went down to the wire and ultimately in Townsville’s favour.

Their for and against difference is a fair indication of their dominance throughout 2015 and they ran up some big scores during the season with many sides leaving Jack Manski Oval with zero points and a hefty for and against deficit.

They were highly impressive in defeating the PNG Hunters in their first finals game, but fell just short on Grand Final day as Ipswich just edged them out. Whether they can keep a hold of their best players for next year or suffer second season syndrome will be the big questions for them in 2016, in no doubt is they are a welcome addition to the competition who will remain strong for season to come.

 

PNG HUNTERS – Eliminated in third week of finals
Season Record – 2
nd – P 25 – W 18 – L 3 – D 2 – B 2 – F/A +231

Best Game – PNG 36 Wynnum 13
Despite some large wins, this game showed their improvement in the big games as they turned around a 13-6 half time deficit to whip the 15,000 strong crowd in Port Moresby into a frenzy with a dominant second half display.

Season Round Up
The PNG Hunters looked to have been starting to suffer from second season syndrome as they started the season off with three wins and three losses including a shock loss to the Sunshine Coast who won convincingly. Their Round 6 loss was the last of the season until the finals as the Hunters went on an unbeaten run that featured all of their usual style from the previous season which had won so many fans, but had added extra steel in getting home in the tight games against the top sides.

In all the excitement of the Hunters season we previously wrote a little bit on the Hunters season just before the finals started.

Unfortunately for the Hunters, their many fans, admirers and the seven million odd PNG population they failed to get into their usual groove for the finals and were bundled out with consecutive losses to the Townsville and Ipswich sides. Two sides who they had beaten home and away and in the case of the Blackhawks, the only side that Townsville couldn’t beat in the regular season.

Whether it was the big occasion or the expectations of the many people wishing them well, it didn’t quite work in the finals series, but given the improvement and another year of experience under their belt should be even more competitive in 2016.

 

EASTS TIGERS – Eliminated in second week of finals
Season Record – 5
th – P 25 – W 13 – L 8 – D 2 – B 2 – F/A +204

Best Game – Wynnum 24 Easts 32 in Finals
Tigers returned the favour from the last round of the season to knock out their rivals after jumping out to a big lead and holding off a fast finishing Seagulls.

Season Round Up
The Easts Tigers season will be defined by the loss of their halfback Grant Giess who tragically passed away mid-season during a bye weekend. Their first game after the loss was a hard fought 28 all draw against the Tweed Heads Seagulls showed all the qualities they are famed for as were. NothingButLeague Matt Crowhurst’s report sets the scene of that day best

From that point on, the Tigers looked like they were building a real finals run and went from fringe top 6 side to qualify for the finals with a week to spare. In a late season run they lost just three times from the Tweed game on, one of those just a 2 point loss in PNG. They beat premiers Ipswich and drew with Townsville in that run, and their win over Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval in the second last round put the other teams on notice.

In the exact same scenario as 2014 the Tigers faced their rivals Wynnum in the last week of the season and the first week of the finals. Whilst their rivals won the first round the Tigers got them back in the finals, but their season lasted just one week more as they were the second side to lose at the hands of the Jets on their march to the premiership.

 

WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS – Eliminated in first week of finals
Season Record – 4
th – P 25 – W 16 – L 7 – D 0 – B 2 – F/A +183

Best Game – Easts 10 Wynnum 17
Temporarily got the upper hand on their rivals in the last round with a convincing win to give them home ground advantage in the finals.

Season Round Up
Wynnum Seagulls were competitive as ever in 2015, and maintained a top six spot throughout the season. It looked to be business as usual as the Seagulls opened their season with wins against Ipswich and Easts, but their round 3 loss at home to the Mackay Cutters was an early sign of the one thing that ultimately cost them a final position on the ladder higher than their 4
th place – losses at Kougari.

The Seagulls lost 4 of their 11 home games in 2015 and three of their last five.  Although two of those losses were by just one point, none were large margins and a little more luck in those game would have got the Seagulls close to second place.

In the end they did well to beat the Tigers in the last round of the season to get the home final against the same team but they were blown away by a dominant Tigers first half in the final to end their season a few weeks earlier than 2014.

The Seagulls did have the Intrust Super Cup’s player of the year in Patrick Templeman who will be one of the keys to going further in 2016.

 

NORTHERN PRIDE – Eliminated in first week of finals
Season Record – 6th – P 25 – W 14 – L 9 – D 0 – B 2 – F/A +76

Best Game – Wynnum 20 Northern Pride 21
The Pride snatched a late win on a Saturday night at Wynnum after the Seagulls hit the front just a few minutes before.

Season Round Up
The Pride started their premiership defence off in terrible fashion as they lost their first four games of the season and sat bottom of the table at Round 5. The Pride lost only five times after that and that run was good enough for them to climb over a lot of their opponents in the second half of the year to ultimately finish sixth.

They became very hard to beat in Cairns after that win-less run ended. Losses were rare as were big margins as most games were tight, tough affairs.

That home advantage wasn’t quite enough to get them any higher than sixth place and that left them at the mercy of the Ipswich Jets at North Ipswich Reserve in the first week of the finals. They got close to the Jets but ultimately bowed out first week.

 

REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS – Best of the rest
Season Record – 7
th – P 25 – W 10 – L 12 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A +97

Best Game – Burleigh 10 Redcliffe 64
Redcliffe were on some late season run as they thrashed the Bears on the Gold Coast. A similar large margin against Central could also have been noted, as was their draw with PNG.

Season Round Up
Redcliffe waited until the second half of the season to show what they were capable of.  Their late season charge almost got them into the Top 6. There were some big wins along the way against Burleigh and Mackay and their draw with PNG was arguably their best performance of the season but it was a little too late.

Despite the excitement of some prodigal sons returning in the shape of Luke Capewell and Joe Bond, early season form at home was a real problem. In fact by the time the Dolphins had broken their win-less run at home against Central by 68-16, they had gone around a calendar year without a home win.

It’s now three seasons without finals football for Redcliffe. For a club with so much success in the past they will have a change of head coach with former Dolphins and Broncos NRL coach Anthony Griffin returning in 2016 as the club hopes to return that former glory.

 

MACKAY CUTTERS
Season Record – 8
th – P 25 – W 10 – L 12 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A +50

Best Game – Mackay 30 Easts 8
Mackay saw off the grand finalists from the previous year who’d started the season well. An argument could also be made for the 28-10 win at Wynnum also.

Season Round Up

Somehow the Cutters missed the Top 6 after looking certainties for a large part of the season. A late season slump cost them their place in the finals as they were overtaken by fellow Cowboys feeder team the Northern Pride with a few weeks to go.

The Cutters won five straight after being newcomers Townsville’s first victim in the opening round. Their form struggle was evident when they failed to win more than two in a row after that leaving the Cutters in a difficult position to build momentum. Their round 19 victory 46-4 over Burleigh should have been the catalyst to push the club towards finals footy but they only managed a draw against PNG on the run home.

 

BURLEIGH BEARS
Season Record – 9
th – P 25 – W 14 – L 9 – D 0 – B 2 – F/A -273

Best Game – Wynnum 24 Burleigh 25
The Bears snuck home against Wynnum with a late try and then a field goal.

Season Round Up
It was a roller coaster of a season for the Bears in 2015 who mixed wins over some of the big teams with some big losses against the battlers.

For instance Burleigh came away with the two points from Ipswich, Redcliffe and Wynnum Manly, and won on home soil against Mackay and the Northern Pride. This showed that the Bears were able to be competitive on their day.

Unfortunately in between these wins were some big losses against Redcliffe 64-6, against the Tweed 50-4 in rivalry round. Their worst defeat coming 78-6 against a red hot Townsville. Although they only finished 1 point from 7th placed Redcliffe their points difference of -273 was always going to make it tough to play finals in 2015.

 

TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
Season Record – 10
th – P 25 – W 9 – L 13 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A -75

Best Game – Tweed Heads 50 Burleigh 4
The highlight was a big win in rivalry round over their Gold Coast counterparts.  You could also rate their performance at a drenched Piggabeen against Norths was highly impressive which was enough to earn Kane Elgey an NRL slot for the rest of the season.

Season Round Up
Tweed Heads flew under the radar so to speak this season as they were permanent fixture in the midfield teams, highlighted with solid victories over their rivals like the 50-4 win over Gold Coast neighbours Burleigh in Rivalry round and getting revenge on the Wynnum Seagulls in Round 20.

Too often there were regular losses as the Seagulls never managed more than two wins in a row, halting any momentum towards finals football in 2015. The occasional appearances of discarded Titans players couldn’t give them the spark to go further.

 

SOUTHS LOGAN MAPGIES
Season Record – 11
th – P 25 – W 7 – L 15 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A -158

Best Game – Souths Logan 17 Northern Pride 8
Souths Logan took their game to Tully and came home with a surprise win against the reigning premiers.

Season Round Up
The Magpies were the nomads of the Intrust Super Cup in 2015 as they took five of their home games away from their traditional home of Davies Park at West End, travelling to some far flung places around Queensland. Their first adventure was in Miriam Vale as they thrashed the Central Capras on their own turf and they repeated the feat later in the year as they triumphed over of the Pride in Tully.

Other trips to Stradbroke Island and Cherbourg weren’t as successful, but a trip to their suburban ‘non-traditional’ home at Acacia Ridge ended their season on a high when they beat Mackay.

There was a period where the Magpies looked like breaking out of the lower reaches of the Intrust Super Cup ladder on the back of young Broncos halfback Ashley Taylor’s arrival.  Sadly that wasn’t the case and they finished in a disappointing eleventh place.

 

SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS
Season Record – 12
th – P 25 – W 7 – L 15 – D 1 – B 2 – F/A -164

Best Game – Sunshine Coast 49 Tweed Heads 10
Put the Seagulls to the sword in a great mid season run of form.  Their results of a win and a narrow loss against the PNG Hunters were arguably two of their better performances.

Season Round Up
The Sunshine Coast and Intrust Super Cup got a lot more publicity than they normally would under the worst possible circumstances with their prop James Ackerman passing away after an on field accident in that fateful twilight match at Bishop Park.

How the club battled on after the tragic event was admirable, their improved 2015 compared to the solitary win in 2014 was well deserved.

Some may say it was the inspiration to do it for their colleague, but the Falcons were on the improve well before the Bishop Park clash, highlighted in their upset win over the PNG Hunters in Round 5. In fact, no team troubled the Hunters like the Falcons as they only just lost the return fixture in PNG.

The new link up to be the Melbourne Storm’s second feeder side seemed to be the helping hand they needed and the arrangement worked for both as the Falcons got the use of fringe players like the excellent Ben Hampton and Kurt Mann, and the Storm got an excellent results out for their players in the NRL. Will the partnership continue to thrive in 2016?

 

NORTHS DEVILS
Season Record – 13
th – P 25 – W 5 – L 16 – D 2 – B 2 – F/A -324

Best Game – Norths 40 Mackay 28
Saved their best for Dalby in Country Week as they saw off a side still in finals contention.

Season Round Up
The Devils season could be described as disappointing as they were unable to capitalise on the 2/2 start to the season.

Their run from Round 10 to Round 20 without a win ultimately cost them any chance to achieve anything meaningful in 2015, only saved by the Capras poor season to save them from the wooden spoon.

They sparked up at the end of the season with two wins from two games against the Capras and Mackay on the road, but losses especially against against Easts and Wynnum were too frequent throughout the year to trouble anyone too high up the table.

 

CENTRAL CAPRAS
Season Record – 14
th – P 25 – W 1 – L 22 – D 0 – B 2 – F/A -552

Best Game – Central 22 Burleigh 14
Their only win coming in round 1 against the Bears, but did lead Wynnum at Kougari Oval at half time later in the season before going down.

Season Round Up
The Capras had a very lean 2015, their only success coming in Round 1.  After that it was a tortuous season as they chased win number two in an attempt to lift themselves away from the wooden spoon.

Despite a few blow outs, Central were competitive in a lot of their games in 2015.  A case in point was leading Wynnum comfortably at Kougari Oval before dropping off in the season half to lose even more comfortably.

The second halves were the Capras undoing all year as they let a lot of good first half performances go to waste. The arrival of Mackay’s coach Kim Williams will be a good start to recovery in 2016. Head coach Jason Hetherington’s retirement early in the season was something that didn’t help them either.