The fifth instalment of the Intrust Super Cup’s Country Week completed with 6 of the 7 games played in some far flung places across Queensland.
The end result of the matches sees the top four all record wins, Burleigh staying three points clear of Redcliffe in second by beating Ipswich in Charleville, and Townsville opening up a three point gap to fifth placed Easts with a 74-12 thrashing of the Capras.
Easts Tigers loss in Port Moresby has opened up the race for the last two finals spots now, and Souths Logan and Sunshine Coast took full advantage with wins in Barcaldine and Gympie respectively.
COUNTRY WEEK RESULTS
SOUTHS LOGAN 32 Norths Devils 24
BURLIEGH BEARS 46 Ipswich Jets 26
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 74 Central Capras 12
MACKAY CUTTERS 20 Wynnum Seagulls 10
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 28 Tweed Heads Seagulls 16
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 36 Northern Pride 6
PNG HUNTERS 38 Easts Tigers 8
MAGPIES CEMENT TOP SIX POSITION WITH WIN OVER DEVILS IN BARCALDINE
The Souths Logan Magpies consolidated their top 6 position and have got within two points of fifth place with a win over the Devils on Saturday afternoon.
Whilst the win continues the Magpies drive to the finals, it has essentially ended the finals hopes of Norths who are now seven points behind the Magpies with 5 rounds to go.
Norths had their chances and led at half time 14-12 and again after 45 minutes when they replied to a Magpies try scored just after half time.
Souths Logan eventually retook the lead on the 54th minute, and scored another two tries thereafter, but poor goal kicking kept Norths in the game.
The end result of a seven tries to four head to head shows that Souths Logan deserved the win, and hopefully they don’t lose too many more players to the ailing Broncos, so they don’t halt their recent momentum and charge into the finals.
A PASSING OF THE FLAME IN CHARLEVILLE?
Far western Charleville saw a clash between the reigning premiers and the team looking to most likely to replace them as premiers, and it came out emphatically in the Bears favour.
Ipswich had been on a roll coming into this weekend, winning five games in a row no less, but were always going to find it tough against a side who seem to be able to answer every challenge set to them in 2016.
The Bears had three converted tries on the board before Ipswich try machine Michael Purcell scored the Jets first in the 16th minute and when they crossed again not long after it looked as if a classic battle was on the cards.
But Burleigh are leaders of this competition for no reason and laid on two tries before the break and one after to lead 36-10.
Ipswich threatened a comeback with three second half tries, but it was too late and the Bears too far ahead.
The win sees Burleigh remain three points clear of Redcliffe in second, and Ipswich fall to eighth, but are only two points from sixth.
BLACKHAWKS FLEX MUSCLES IN THRASHING CAPRAS
The Townsville Blackhawks were as close to full strength when they hosted the Capras out in Mt Isa for the Country Week round, and it showed. When you can name NRL Legend Matty Bowen on the bench, then you know that the cattle on the park are premium grade. The Capras were not going to be intimidated though at they opened the scoring after 10 minutes.
This may have upset the Blackhawks who then ran in six tries in response. Moses Pangai crossed for a double and Rhyse Martin scored the first of his triple as the Blackhawks overpowered the Capras and put the game out of reach with a 40 to 4 half time score. They would score 13 tries for the match as they scored from close to the line and from within their own half as they controlled every phase of the game.
The Capras did manage to trouble the scorers a little bit, but it was over and out as the Blackhawks found some form after regaining players from injury and the Cowboys squad. The rest of the finals bound teams will be a touch nervous at this showing.
The Blackhawks head down to take on the Mackay Cutters this Friday evening and the Capras will appreciate a weekend off for their second bye of the season to lick their wounds.
CUTTERS CELEBRATE THIRD SEASON WIN AGAINST WYNNUM
Moranbah welcomed the Cutters and Wynnum Manly to the Darryl Bourke oval as the bottom of the table Cutters faced up to one of the four teams pushing for the final spot in the post season. After a brutal loss last week, it was going to be tough for the Cutters to be up for this match and yet they not only turned up, they were tough and took it to one of the teams that should have had more to play for.
It was the Cutters on the board after only 2 minutes and they would close out the half with a reasonably comfortable margin of 16-6. But those who have been following them this season would not have been over confident of a victory as they had led by more and lost on a number of occasions.
The toughness of the mining town that they were in must have rubbed off on the Cutters and they showed some steel in the second half (Yes I know they only mine coal out at Moranbah, it’s just a device) and they managed to outscore the Seagulls in the second stanza as well. Whatever was in the hotels breakfast this morning should become the teams pregame tradition as they finished out comfortable victors after running in 5 tries to 2.
The Cutters will have to face up to the rather dominant Blackhawks this Friday, but they are at home for the clash. The Seagulls face the Seagulls as Tweed and Wynnum face of in the battle of the Birds heads to BMD Kougari for a Sunday afternoon session.
SUNSHINE COAST WIN THE BATTLE OF THE COASTAL BIRDS IN GYMPIE
The Sunshine Coast Falcons stayed in the hunt for finals football this season as they saw off a determined Tweed Heads Seagulls who remain only an unlikely mathematical chance.
It looked as if it would a convincing victory to the Sunshine Coast early as they dominated the game and scoring with Richie Kennar scooping an early double.
Tweed got back into the game midway through the first half and were rewarded for their efforts with two tries to close up the match.
Richie Kennar’s hat trick was completed before half time as the Falcons took a 14-10 lead to the break.
Errors a plenty was the theme of the second half, but the Sunshine Coast took advantage of what ball they held onto by outscoring the Seagulls three tries to one and eventually winning 28-16.
Sunshine Coast are now 7th but will need to sort out goal kicking if they wish to feature and progress in the finals, as their poor conversion rate has already cost them one game so far in 2016.
DOLPHINS TOO GOOD FOR PRIDE
Consistency of effort is the main difference between sides in the Final Six and those looking to an early vacation, and it showed in the picturesque town of Ravenshoe on the weekend. Whilst this game was held up in Pride territory, it was clear that the Dolphins as hosts were going to nail down their finals position and drive a few nails in the coffin of the Pride.
The Pride scored first, had a second disallowed, and then let the Dolphins come back at them and then add the interest on top. The six tries to one effort was an accurate envisioning of where the two teams are standing and where they also need to focus their efforts on for the rest of the season.
The defensive efforts of the Pride have been their downfall, many a week has gone by with the score-line being well over 20 and they need to look at changing this up at least two gears, if they want to be a force next season. It will be a tough pre-season if they want to put in the hard yards required to turn your defence around.
For the Dolphins, it is easy to become confident in your play, and the coach will want them to keep a cool head for when they face up to the Devils this weekend at home. When you win it easy, you can also easily fall into a rap of just expecting it to happen.
Dolphins will host the Devils, who currently sit third last on the table. A victory will help keep both the Hunters and Blackhawks at bay. The Pride face up to the Ladder Leaders with the Bears hosting them at Pizzey Park
PNG HUNTERS 38 Easts Tigers 8
|Souths Logan Magpies||19||9||2||8||1||493||468||25||22|
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||19||9||1||9||1||367||374||-7||21|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||18||8||0||10||2||401||433||-32||20|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||18||6||0||12||2||331||526||-195||16|