The Intrust Super Cup kicked off this weekend with seven action packed games from Townsville to Tweed Heads, and all down the Queensland Coast. 2015 Premiers Ipswich got off to a winning start, as did last year’s 1st and 2nd placed sides Townsville and PNG Hunters. The Central Capras have matched their total tally of wins for 2015 after beating nearest neighbours Mackay. It was also a good weekend for the Sunshine and Gold Coasts with first up wins for the Falcons, Tweed Heads and Burleigh.

The rumours of the Ipswich Jets demise have been greatly exaggerated.

After the Jets success in 2015 led to an exodus of talent to NRL clubs, a lot of people – this author included – had written the Jets off as a Top 6 side. Whilst there’s a long way to go in the season, we should have really known better with a side coached by the Walker Brothers. But who were we to know that the Jets would line up in their first game of 2016 with the majority of last year’s backline (including Carlin Anderson and Marmin Barba) and finals hero Billy McConachie’s name also returned to the team sheet.

Needless to say those players had a part in the match, with Marmin Barba scoring twice and Anderson once amongst the Jet’s 7 tries. Not that it was all Jets despite the 38-24 final score, Norths were well in the game throughout and just the two points separated the sides with 5 minutes remaining. A first game hoodoo broken for Ipswich, and some potential ahead for the Devils.

PNG Hunters continue to ruffle the Magpies’ feathers.

PNG returned to Davies Park for their now traditional opening round clash against Souths Logan, and with the history of no losses to the Magpies in their four clashes so far and the stellar season for the PNG based side in 2015, it looked like another win for the away side. Whilst the result did favour the Hunters again 36-18, that didn’t tell the story of the game in which the Magpies looked equally dangerous as PNG.

Back to back tries in the second half eventually made the difference, but there’s plenty of improvement left for both sides, in a game that had plenty of errors as one would expect for the first up game on a warm day in March.

We were at Davies Park, and have a full review coming.

100 Tries for James Wood – Win for Tweed Seagulls

A good day for the Seagulls centre stalwart as he joined a select club of Intrust Super Cup players to score 100 tries, and the Tweed overcame a 24-10 deficit just after half time to topple the Tigers with tries in the 73rd and 78th minute to win 28-24. The last of those late tries was scored by the returning Shannon Walker who played fullback in his return to rugby league after a dalliance with sevens rugby.

The Tigers will rue letting such a lead slip, but it is only early days and one knows the Tigers will be thereabouts all season.

Bear’s second half porridge too hot for Wynnum.

Burleigh took the two competition points away from BMD Kougari Oval for the second consecutive year as they powered past the Wynnum Seagulls in the second half to record a 44-22 over the bayside club.

A pattern emerged in the first half and until the 16 all score line early in the second, with Wynnum scoring first and then the Bears replying. Even scoring and missing conversions in tandem. But once the Bears hit the front for the first time they didn’t look back with 4 unanswered tries, and had the game in the bag at 38-16 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Wests Tigers recruit Kurtis Rowe grabbed a double and former first choice Titan hooker Matt Srama Titans were amongst the eight tries.

Mendi Townsville Blackhawks v Redcliffe Dolphins

The debut of eight new players for the Blackhawks did not cost them anything more than margin as they left the field with the two points over a very vigorous Dolphins side.

After putting the ball out of bounds from the kick-off, the Dolphins were on the back foot early. Samsen O’Neill scored the first of his two tries off a beautiful pass from Hughes and the pressure on the new lads was eased.

It did not last long as Zac Strasser finished well to put four points on the board for the Dolphins. In a tight game we saw tries exchanged with O’Neill and Strasser putting down their respective doubles, whilst fullback for the Blackhawks Jahrome Hughes and Sam Hoare both scored proving their NRL credentials.

The pressure was on right up to the whistle after a late try to Pearson gave the Dolphins hope of an upset with five minutes to go.

For a team disturbed by injury, this was a solid effort and the Dolphins will also leave with some confidence.

Final Score: Mendi Townsville Blackhawks 18 defeated Redcliffe Dolphins 16

Blackhawks:
Tries: Samsen O’Neill 2, Jahrome Hughes, Sam Hoare.
Conversions: Sam Foster ¼

Dolphins:
Tries: Zac Strasser 2, Jonus Pearson.
Conversions: Darren Nicholls 2/3

Mackay Cutters v Central Queensland Capras

The rain was pelting down for the kick-off, and it proved to the Cutters advantage as they drew the error early. They took full advantage and whilst the first wave of pressure did not score, they soon spread it wide for the first try to Jordon Pereira.

Joshua Mitchell evened up the score-line with a sneaky dummy half barge under the post that with the successful conversion locked the scores up. Maipele Morseu showed some class with a slick break from one out of the ruck and finished under the posts to give the Capras the lead.

A team try finished by Kirisome Kirisome moved the margin out until the Cutters finally hit back with a classic to Patrick Mago that gave the home side a burst of hope with time on the clock.

But the Capras were not going to let new coach (and old Cutters coach) Kim Williams down as they sealed the deal with a try to Brandon Manase.

Final Score: CQ Capras 24 defeated Mackay Cutters 10

CQ Capras:
Tries: Joshua Mitchell, Maipele Morseu, Kirisome Kirisome, Brandon Manase
Conversions: Matthew Minto 4/4

Mackay Cutter:
Tries: Jordon Pereira, Patrick Mago
Conversions: Liam Taylor ½

Sunshine Coast Falcons v Northern Pride

This was the game of two halves as the Pride began this season with a bang but then let their opponents finish over the top in a thrilling victory with a field goal by Jacks to take the points.

The Falcons scored first with a nice finish to Ryley Jacks barging in from five out. This stirred the Pride into action and after finally getting some ball after a tough opening they were on the board with a smooth effort from Jared Allen.

The Pride quickly put two more tries on the board with Linc Port cleaning up a beautiful bomb that came down with scorch marks from re-entry and followed up by a great effort from Shaun Hudson who forced the fumble and slammed down the loose ball to give the Pride a nice lead.

Hero to villain when Hudson coughed up a pass into the waiting arms of  Matthew Grieve who extracted full punishment with a try that clawed back some of the margin. Jack Svendsen hit back for the Pride to push the score line out to 24-10 to the Pride at half time.

The second half showed some patience by the Falcons and inexperience by the Pride as the young side gave up two tries that levelled the score. The first to Curtis Scott and the Matthew Grieve again trimmed the margin. A try to Nelson Asofa-Solomona levelled the game with minutes remaining.

Ryley Jacks nailed the Pride with a left footed snap for field goal that was the final score and victory by a single point.

Final Score: Sunshine Coast Falcons 25 defeated Northern Pride 24

Sunshine Coast Falcons:
Tries: Matthew Grieve 2, Ryley Jacks, Curtis Scott, Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Conversions: Patrick Hollis 2/5
Field Goal: Ryley Jacks 1/1

Northern Pride:
Tries: Jared Allen, Linc Port, Shaun Hudson, Jack Svendsen
Conversions: Khan Ahwang 4/4