Burleigh remain on top of the Intrust Super Cup with a win in Rockhampton over the Capras, and three of their nearest competitors also won to keep the battle for the top close. The PNG Hunters being the exception, continuing their poor recent run of away losses at Bishop Park against Norths.
Redcliffe claimed a famous comeback victory over Mackay who looked certain for victory, and Easts just got home over 2014 Grand Final rivals Northern Pride. Townsville got back on track after two straight losses with a win over the Sunshine Coast. And the Souths Logan Magpies kept in touch with the top 6 with a win at Piggabeen.
Find out more with the match by match review of Round 16 in the Intrust Super Cup.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
EASTS TIGERS 26 Northern Pride 24
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 Sunshine Coast 12
Central Capras 20 BURLEIGH BEARS 44
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 36 Mackay Cutters 28
Tweed Heads Seagulls 30 SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 48
NORTHS DEVILS 24 PNG Hunters 8
EASTS TIGERS 26 Northern Pride 24
by Matt Crowhurst
Led by rookie forwards Shane Gilham and John Puna; and bolstered by the return of Brodie Croft, the Tigers defeated a gallant Northern Pride 26-24 at Suzuki Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In the end, it was a penalty goal by Croft in the 39th minute of the game that proved the difference.
Both teams opened the game with exemplary first sets – but it was the Tigers who opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Matt Zgrajewski took an inside pass from Slade Griffin and crashed over beside the posts.
The Pride were always in the game however, with a great kicking game from their halves. Brayden Torpy showed why he is one of the most highly-rated young halves in the competition, controlling the Pride sets and ensuring they almost always had the right option on the last tackle.
Jordan Biondi-Odo was another strong performer for the visitors and a sharp run from dummy half, great kick back across the ruck – which the Tigers spilled – was cleaned up by Sheldon Powe-Hobbs to score their first points.
The Pride were in again a few minutes later when Coen Hess, who has NRL written all over him, linked with Linc Port. Port threw a lovely cut-out pass to beat the Tigers defence and find an unmarked Justin Castellaro who ran over.
However, the Tigers found another gear in the last 10 minutes of the half and amassed the points that would ultimately win them the game.
First Croft did all the hard work before popping a pass to Javarn White who was trailing on the inside as all good fullbacks do and went in to score.
In the ensuing set, Brentt Warr, who has had an up and down season, ran at the line with ball in hand and in a powerful 15m burst where he stepped off both feet, he left the Pride defence grasping at air to score.
Croft had converted all of the tries and landed the telling 39th minute penalty to take the score to 20-12 at halftime.
The Pride came out from the sheds committed to start on the front foot. Port made a great link with Javid Bowen and the two of them had made 70m before the 1st tackle. While no points came from that movement; the pattern for the rest of the afternoon was set.
Skipper Ryan Ghietti scored next for Pride, and with Khan Ahwang’s conversion, they trailed 20-18 and the game was there for the taking.
The next Pride try was all down to some Port genius. With the attack static, no bodies in motion and no runners coming on to the ball; he took a pass from Ghietti, stabbed in a grubber at the post and accelerated from 0 to 100 in a split second to score the try under the attention of a desperate Tigers defence.
Pride had the lead for the first time in the game and looked like it might take them to the victory.
However, the Tigers managed to get some space on the edge, as they had been trying all day.
Croft linked with Jacob Paul in the centres who found the hard-running second rower Jake Foster, and his quick pass to Leon Ellia-Niukore put him over to level the scores. Croft was successful with the sideline conversion to steal the win.
BLACKHAWKS STRONG FINISH WARNING TO COMP
by Dan White
Changes from the listed side for the Blackhawks were numerous. Bowen, Parker-Walshe, Reuben, Murgha, Mitchell and Kaifoto all did not take the field for the locals. With this wealth of talent off the field, it was always going to be hard to match up against the Falcons who were on a roll after downing the Tigers last weekend.
Depth is one of the advantages enjoyed by the Blackhawks, with players spread over the local competition being the greater difference in most of the local clashes, when they step up, they are still match fit, even with the step up in pace. The six replacements came in and whilst the changes were significant, they managed to combine well to provide a stern challenge for the visiting Falcons.
The Falcons came in off a solid victory and knew that they needed a win to keep themselves in the hunt for the finals. Sitting in sixth is not the best solution and they already knew how the Jets had managed the previous weekend. Running out to the changes, especially with a number of relatively unrecognised names and the newly signed Davin Campton, would have upset a few of the game plans.
The first half was a tight affair, a try and a penalty offset the converted Falcons try and the six all start would have made the locals a bit nervous. The second half began with two quick tries for the hosts and in less than seven minutes, the lead was out to ten. A reply was needed and Seluini got the margin back to only 4 with still half an hour left in the match. The game was dominated by the Blackhawks with 53% possession, 500 more run metres with both O’Neill and Carey running 180+ and yet it took until the 76th minute to put the game to bed. Corey Jensen put the game out of reach and Sam Foster’s third successful kick put the game out to ten points with less than two minutes to go. After two close losses, the Blackhawks returned to the winners list.
Next weekend sees the Blackhawks head down to Davies Park to face Souths Logan who are another team desperate to maintain contact for some finals action. The Falcons head up to Mackay and face the Cutters who are a rather unlucky side and scared the Dolphins before falling short.
BURLEIGH REMAIN ON TOP WITH WIN OVER CAPRAS
by Dan White
The Burleigh Bears sit atop the table for another week after yet again putting on a display, balancing four tries per half and keeping the defensive pressure on the Capras. The Capras were courageous but against one of the form sides they were always going to be under pressure to keep the home crowd happy.
For the Bears it was Olly Regan who crossed for a hat-trick and Jamal Fogarty was excellent with the boot kicking six from 8. The hidden number revealing the strength of their win was how hard they ran. The top three in metres gained all exceeded the best from the Capras and those hard yards all payed off with Sauiluma, Rowe and Page all troubling the scorers. All the extra yards paid off, as the team shared the defensive load whilst the Capras struggled to get in the game to any real extent.
The Capras were worked hard in defence, Samson Graham was solid with an impressive 44 tackles as the lock did all he could, Gavin Hiscox put in 37 more but the load of 54 extra tackles due to ball control was too much. The margin was ten at the break and they trimmed it back to four just after the break but the effort was snuffed out and the Bears piled on twenty more without response and left Rockhampton with the points.
The Bears head home for the bye and the Capras will be facing up to the Ipswich Jets in a bottom half battle for pride.
DOLPHINS EDGE CLOSE TO THE TOP WITH WIN OVER PRIDE
by Dan White
Mackay headed down to the unenvious task of taking on the Dolphins who have been near the top of the table for a number of weeks and were unbackable favourites before the whistle. Mackay has been down the bottom of the table for the entire season and yet in recent weeks have been very close to gaining their second victory.
The Dolphins have only dropped four games so far this season and are powering on and when they ran on to their home ground, would have been confident of victory. A try in the first minute would have seemed the perfect start, but the story was not given to the visitors. They responded with a try of their own and then crossed three more times before the half hour mark. Perfect from the boot, Liam Taylor helped push the score to 24 -4 before Cherrington got the home side back into it with a late effort.
A game of two halves is always painful to watch. The Dolphins came out from half time and in the first twenty of the second half piled on four quick tries that sent the locals into a frenzy and summed up the Cutters season. Interim coach Jim Wilson would have gone from champagne to drain water as his side let the Dolphins dominate possession and the metres 1744 to 1290. A late consolation brought the game closer but it was all done.
Next week the Dolphins host Wynnum Manly and the Cutters will host the SC Falcons. Both games should be excellent value.
MAGPIES JUST ONE POINT SHY OF THE TOP 6 AFTER SUCCESS AT PIGGABEEN
by Shannon Meyer
Despite the loss a number of their players to the Broncos, the Magpies showed they still have plenty to offer in the Intrust Super Cup this season, and could possibly be a dark horse for the finals if they get back some of those players. As it is they are now just one point from sixth anyway. They also have the fourth best points scored per game, showing they could mix it with the big teams in attack come September.
Souths Logan compounded the misery of the Tweed Head’s Seagulls derby loss to Burleigh last weekend with a dominant first half display over the Tweed Heads side which set up a victory which kept them in the race for the finals. The five tries to one first 40 minutes gave the Magpies a 28-6 half time lead.
The Seagulls threatened a comeback, and got close with three unanswered tries in the middle of the second half that reduced the gap to 34-30. Ultimately two very late tries following a conveniently timed penalty goal gave the Magpies a great win, although they probably could have done without the heartburn of the Tweed comeback.
Both team have difficult home fixtures next week with Tweed at home to the PNG Hunters, and Souths Logan welcome Townsville.
BETTER THE DEVILS AT HOME
by Shannon Meyer
Norths Devils underlined a more competitive 2016 and good recent form with a win at home to the previously high flying PNG Hunters.
Norths had the game in control, and the returning Todd Murphy was in the heart of the attack, scoring the first try of the match and was dangerous throughout. But the defensive effort to restrict a side as dangerous as the PNG Hunters to just eight points is an even bigger compliment to the Devils, and a good base for doing the tough stuff that comes with finals football.
The Hunters, who continued a poor run away from PNG, have averaged just 14.5 points away from home on their four consecutive away loss run, and looks like it will cost them a top 2 position at minimum. On Sunday, the Hunters had just a penalty goal to show for their first 40 minutes.
PNG threatened a fightback when they were first to score in the second half just two minutes after the break, but a 60th minute penalty goal gave the Devils an eight point gap, and got further breathing space with tries in the 72nd and 77th minute and stopped the Hunters scoring again despite their best efforts.
For Norths it was a great follow up to the previous round’s win over the competitive Capras, and it keeps the Devils in the close chasing pack for the final top 6 spot. The Hunters have another away game at Piggabeen to turn around their increasingly worrying form away from Port Moresby.
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||15||7||1||7||1||287||292||-5||17|
|Souths Logan Magpies||15||6||2||7||1||385||386||-1||16|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||14||5||0||9||2||316||361||-45||14|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||15||5||0||10||1||287||442||-155||12|