A weekend for home comforts as all seven home sides recorded wins this weekend in the Intrust super Cup Round 14.
The PNG Hunters remain at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, one pointy clear of the equally in-form Sunshine Cost. Redcliffe got their season back on track with a win, and Mackay’s goalkicking cost them an upset win over the weekend against the Blackhawks.
Most of the eyes on the Intrust Super Cup this weekend would have surely been at North Ipswich Reserve as million dollar playmaker Ben Hunt represented the Ipswich and led them to a good win over the fringe Top 6 sides.
Elsewhere Tweed Heads were thrashed by the Wynnum Seagulls in the Flockbuster, which was good news for the other Gold Coast side – Burleigh – as their win over the Central Capras put them another win ahead of the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
The mini preview of all the games are below, but click on the header for a full preview with team lists. Or visit the Intrust Super Cup Match Centre.
A weekend that started off not so great for Ben Hunt has got its silver lining, as he was part of the Ipswich side that had a big win over the Norths Devils, and with the unfortunate injury to Anthony Milford on Friday night for the Broncos, he may have found a way back to the NRL quicker than probably originally thought.
Ben Hunt wasn’t the only thing that looked different on Saturday afternoon as the Jets turned out in the unfamiliar Blue, Purple, Pink and White to promote the Domestic Violence Action Centre.
Whatever the combination it worked for the Jets who had a very comfortable win over Norths, a side that they were equal on points with heading into the weekend. The home side scored four tries in each half, with doubles to Wes Conlon and Richard Pandia.
The Devils scored four tries in 14 minutes from the 63rd minute, but by then it was far too late, as Ipswich had the game under control almost throughout. An early unconverted try to each side saw the game in a deadlock of 4-4 until Nemani Valekapa scored in the 17th minute. From there it was all Jets as they led 22-4 at the break, and by the 60th minute were 38-4 in front.
With the Blackhawks drawing Mackay, these two sides had a chance to get an extra point closer to the Top 6, and Ipswich took full advantage today.
The Burleigh Bears got a timely victory on Saturday afternoon which sees them draw away from their Gold Coast rivals at the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup, and temporarily overtake the Northern Pride too. They also get within one point of their opponents from Saturday too.
The big news in the team line up was the return of Jamal Fogarty, the halfback who was instrumental in the Bears premiership of 2016. He was signed by Parramatta off the back of a brilliant 2016 season, but couldn’t crack the first grade team, a prospect that became harder when Mitchell Moses joined mid season. Eels loss is definitely the Bears gain. A shame that NRL clubs sign so may of the Intrust Super Cup’s best but never give them a chance. Maybe the NRL needs some more teams to give the Jamal Fogarty’s of this world more chances to make the big time.
And you can’t argue about the impact, as the Bears scored five tries to three, and gave themselves a chance to still feature in finals. There were try scoring doubles to a player worth keeping an eye on Troy Leo, and Dallas Wells.
In a similar vein to the Ipswich-Norths game, he sides were matched evenly with a try a piece during the first half, but once the home side scored their second they took control of the game. Burleigh laid on two more tries before the break to lead 16-6, and two further tries after the break to lead 28-6 with 20 minutes to go. Two consolation tries came for Central in the 69th and 77th minutes, but it was too late to stop the Bears who recorded their fourth win of the year.
An 80th minute penalty goal from Carlin Anderson secured one competition point for the Townsville Blackhawks against the Mackay Cutters, as for the second time in four rounds they needed a vey late kick at goal just to snatch a draw. They drew with the Capras four weeks ago with a debatably awarded late try and conversion.
Mackay almost cost themselves a win last weekend against Wynnum with missed conversions, and the same issue came back to bite them this week as they managed to land just one of their four conversions with a penalty, Townsville landed all three plus a penalty.
Mackay outscored Townsville in terms of tries (4-3), and all seven tries came in the first half, with Mackay scoring first, followed by Townsville, and from there the lead chopped and changed until it was deadlocked at half time. There was much less scoring in the second half with just a penalty each to show for the 40 minutes. Mackay got their first in the 56th minute to edge ahead by two, but the last gasp reply from Townsville hurt.
Mackay edge just a little further from the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup, whilst the dropped point for Townsville allowed Ipswich to close within a win of the final Top 6 spot.
The Seagulls of Wynnum comprehensively answered which team is the better Seagulls team in 2017, with a big 46-8 win over Tweed Heads for their second Flockbuster win of the season.
Wynnum had previously only won once since Round 3, and Tweed Heads were coming into the game on two straight wins, so the 46-8 score line is some surprise, and it could have been worse with Wynnum only kicking 4 of their 9 conversions.
The damage was done in the first half as Wynnum scored five tries to lead 24-0, and by the time fullback Daniel Ogden had scored his third and hooker Jayden Berrell the second of his double it was the 54th minute and Wynnum were 40-0 to the good. Tweed Heads finally got on the board four minutes later, but that and one more try in the 73rd minute were purely consolation, and leaves them rooted to the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup ladder. Wynnum keep up with the Top 6 chasing pack.
Guy Hamilton was the star for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in their win which keeps them second and just one point away from the Hunters at the top.
The Sunshine Coast halfback scored two tries, set up others, kicked 5/6 conversions and a penalty, and delivered a little salt to the Pride with 79th minute field goal. Not a bad day’s work. and doing a great job in the absence of Ryley Jacks who was on Storm duty.
The end result may point to a comfortable win for the Falcons, but they were pushed by the Pride who only trailed 18-16 halfway through the second half. But from when Alexander Copelin crossed in the 60th minute the Falcons flexed their muscles and took the game away from the Pride with a further two tries, and could have been more.
PNG fans will be happy with the progress of Justin Olam who scored two tries, and almost had a hat trick late in the second half. Probably not as happy as Falcons fans who continue to enjoy their team’s great run and lofty position on the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
Redcliffe Dolphins snapped a two game losing streak which previously saw them drop from first to third with a solid win over fellow Top 6 combatant Easts Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Dolphin Oval.
A loss for the Dolphins would have seen them fall behind the Tigers on the ladder, and the home side went behind first when the Tigers’ Mark Nicholls scored in the 7th minute. But the Redcliffe Dolphins responded the way they have so many times in 2017 with a quick burst of unanswered tries, this time it was 3 tries in 11 minutes from the 25th minute to give the Dolphins a 16-6 halftime lead.
The home side scored first too after the break, giving them a handy 16 point lead, and the best defensive team in the competition are unlikely to let go of a lead like that. They didn’t, and a late Tigers try was not enough to extend the Dolphins losing streak past two. Easts remain in the top 6, but there is now a three point gap between them and the top 3. Redcliffe stay in the hunt for the minor premiership behind Sunshine Coast and PNG Hunters.
The PNG Hunters held onto the top spot of the Intrust Super Cup after toughing it out against the Souths Logan Magpies in a low scoring game in Port Moresby.
In the end, like it has in many Intrust Super Cup games this year, it came down to which side had the better goal kicking and that battle was won decisively by the PNG Hunters. In fact it is an aspect of the Hunters game that is very underrated, there is always the excitement of their power game and PNG flair, but the goal kicking of Ase Boas is more than handy, and could be a decisive factor for the rest of the season. It will certainly be handy come finals time, which looks a near certainty for the PNG side at the moment.
The halves were mirrored aside from the goal kicking, as there were a try a piece to each side in each half, the first scored by the PNG Hunters 20 minutes from the start of the half, and then Souths Logan replied 10 minutes later.
Souths Logan have been mightily impressive in 2017 so far, and this small loss to the PNG Hunters at home will do nothing to change that view, even if it doesn’t change their points tally. For PNG it is a good win against good opposition and makes it seven straight atop of the Intrust Super Cup.
You can follow the action, results and ladder from Round 14 and all the rounds via our Intrust Super Cup Match Centre.