Burleigh Bears gave the top teams an opportunity to catch up with their upset loss to Northern Pride during Round 21 of the Intrust Super Cup (QLD).

Townsville took their chance on Friday night as they just beat the Cutters in Mackay. The next day the PNG Hunters only just held on against the Jets.

Redcliffe closed within one point of top spot with a thrashing of local rivals Norths.

Elsewhere of the chasing pack for the last finals berth, Sunshine Coast and Wynnum kept their hopes alive with solid wins.

But the big news was at Burleigh on Saturday night as the high flying Bears were trumped by a Pride side previously on a run of four straight losses.

RESULTS AT A GLANCE

Mackay Cutters 14 TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16
PNG HUNTERS 18 Ipswich Jets 16
Burleigh Bears 24 NORTHERN PRIDE 25
Souths Logan Magpies 12 SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 48
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 34 Tweed Heads Seagulls 14
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 60 Norths Devils 16

Mackay Cutters 14 TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16

by Dan White

Mackay had a recent record of starting fast, and once again they were slick and dangerous as they ran in three tries in the first twenty-three minutes. Johnny Faletagoa’I had his double up in the first fifteen and the locals were on top. Half back Delayne Ashby extended the lead to 14 nil and the Cutters were on top.

It took almost half an hour for the Blackhawks to get on the score-board and it was Lona Kaifoto with the first Blackhawks try, and when Michael Parker Walshe crossed five minutes later the game was suddenly a lot closer. Matt Bowen had his kicking boots on and safely converted both tries and the half time score was 14 -12 with the match in the balance.

The second half was the opposite of the first. Defence was the key as both sides held off raids and held on to kicks. The pressure was building and it was Moses Pangai who crossed in the 67th minute to finally give the Blackhawks the lead.

Next week the Cutters are again at home, this time hosting the Tweed Heads version of the Seagulls and the Blackhawks head north to face up to the Pride who will be confident after knocking off the ladder leading Bears in a field goal thriller.

 

PNG HUNTERS HOLD ON IN SECOND HALF PENALTY SHOOTOUT

by Shannon Meyer

The Hunters held onto their home ground advantage on the weekend, but only just as they were stretched by the reigning premiers Ipswich Jets.

In a match that produced a few less tries than you’d expect from attacking sides such as PNG Hunters and Ipswich, it was the visitors who had the early running with the first of their three penalty goals giving them a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The 20 minute mark sparked the busiest period of the game with four tries in 11 minutes – two to each side – but with Ipswich the only side to convert one of those chances it left ipswich in front 14-8 at half time.

The Hunters closed that gap just after half time with the final try of the match. That left the match 14-14 with most of the second half remaining.

It then came down to penalty shots, and the Hunters lead grabbing 55th minutes penalty goal ewas cancelled out by a Jets one 10 minutes later.

The final penalty goal came in the 77th minute to the Hunters and the home side maintained their unbeaten record at home this year and over two year record in PNG.
Burleigh Bears 24 NORTHERN PRIDE 25

by Dan White

Hayden Schwass and Kurtis Rowe launched the Bears with a perfect start by crossing for tries by the eight-minute mark. The ladder leaders looked like they were in full control, even after letting in Shaun Hudson in for a try as they closed out the half with two more. The four tries to one effort was only good for an 18 point to 6 lead but the tries did not stop after half time as Josh Ailaomai crossed just two minutes into the second half.

At 24-6 and in full control, against a side that had been known to struggle to finish out matches, you could be entitled to change down a gear. In a competition where very little separates position 5 on the table from position 10, this is not something that you can do.

The Pride were the champs two years ago and still have a number of those players on board. The team combined to first put Coen Hess, then Colin Wilkie, and then finally Luke George all crossed for tries. With Khan Ahwang being perfect with the boot, we had the scores locked up at 24 apiece and ten minutes remaining.

It came down to a field goal and it was the Pride Five/Eighth Jordon Biondi-Odo who separated the two teams with less than four minutes to go.

Next week, the Bears head to PNG and the Pride host the Blackhawks.
FALCONS TAKE FINALS MOMENTUM

by Shannon Meyer

The Sunshine Coast Falcons showed why so many had tipped them for finals football this year but comprehensively dismantling the Magpies who were just ahead of them on the ladder.

A side that is full of Melbourne Storm fringe players were far too strong for their opponents who were missing some of their players who have become Broncos regulars in 2016.

Only poor goal kicking had kept the scoreline respectable at half time, but that may become a problem if they make the finals and the games become closer.

The worse miss of the game, and possibly the season was when a penalty shot 10 metres out in front hit the post. In an example of why it was the Falcon’s day, the ball found touch to the right 5 metres out and Sunshine Coast got the ball back and scored with the next play.

The second half was more of the same as the Sunshine Coast scored five tries to one to run out big winners on the day.

One incident in which neither side won was a nasty melee in which both sides had two players sent to the bin. It may not be the end of the punishment either as the whole incident was put on report, and the few who visibly threw punches may get more than ten minutes off.
FLOCKBUSTER ENDS IN WYNNUM WIN AND FINISHES TWEED’S FINALS HOPES

by Shannon Meyer

The battle of the Seagulls came down in Wynnum’s favour for the second time this year, and has kept Wynnum’s finals hopes alive and effectively ended their opponents chances.

With Wynnum’s season going in streaks, and coming off a loss, Tweed Heads scoring after just 4 minutes may have worried the home side.

They needn’t have worried too much as it was almost 70 minutes by the time Tweed Heads scored their next try, by which time Wynnum had the game in the bag.

Wynnum laid on two tries before the half time break to lead 12-8 at the break, and another four after to keep their finals hopes alive sitting in 8th, but just one point behind sixth place.

 
DOLPHINS SECOND HALF BLITZ ALLOWS THEM TO DREAM OF MINOR PREMIERSHIP

by Shannon Meyer

Redcliffe closed within one point of the competition lad with a ruthless win over their northside rivals Norths Devils on Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t all Redcliffe, for instance Norths opened up the try scoring in the 4th minute and retook the lead around 20 minutes.

That was the last of the joy for the Devils as Redcliffe responded with two more first half tries to lead 24-12 at the break.

Six more Dolphins tries were put on in the second half, as Redcliffe added some great attacking to their competition leading defence, to run out 60-16 winners. That points difference may make the difference at the end of the season too.

Norths push for the finals is now officially over, and may have to look over their shoulder at the Cutters who have improved recently.

Redcliffe getting within one point of the leaders Burleigh means they can steal the minor premiership and celebrate their new look Dolphin Oval with a big finals clash.