The Intrust Super Cup held yet another successful Get in the Game Country week, with the Round 20 clashes spreading as wide as it possibly could have with clashes in Bamaga near Cape York, to Julia Creek and Winton out west, to Clermont closer to the coast, and Mundubbera and St George in the southern half of the state. And Port Moresby.
The top two sides PNG Hunters and Sunshine Coast gave the rest of the top 6 a break with the Hunters drawing at home to the Cutters, and the Falcons losing to the Bears in St George. Redcliffe and Easts took full advantage with good wins in their respective Country Week clashes, the Tigers have now drawn level with the Falcons on points. Townsville didn’t by losing to Ipswich, and are now equal on points with Souths Logan in sixth.
Souths Logan hurt the chances of the finals chasing pack with a win to keep the gap between 6th and below to four points plus a decent for and against differential. With only five rounds left, but one bye remaining for all the teams except PNG Hunters, there are only four games left to make a difference. That means the top 6 is likely sorted, but just the order of which to be settled. But that should be a good enough battle to focus on in the remaining weeks of the Intrust Super Cup.
Elsewhere, the Northern Pride broke an eight game losing streak, and have left Tweed Heads at the foot of the Intrust Super Cup ladder by themselves.
A summary of all the games is below, with a more detailed results wrap up available by the links.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 16 Northern Pride 40
@ Yusia Ginau Oval, Bamaga.
The Northern Pride snapped the competition’s longest losing streak of eight games with a strong 40-16 win over the Wynnum Seagulls in Bamaga, right next to Cape York in far, far northern Queensland.
Two important events happened for the Wynnum Seagulls on Saturday afternoon in Bamaga, unfortunately neither were able to turn the game in the favour, and as a result the Seagulls look likely to miss out on finals.
Those important events being Daniel Ogden matching the Intrust Super Cup’s all time try scoring record, and the first appearance in Wynnum colours for recent recruit Shaun Nona. The Intrust Super Cup is no strange territory for Nona, who arrived from the Illawarra Cutters, as he has played for a few Intrust Super Cup teams, including winning a premiership with the Northern Pride in 2014. A pity the Seagulls didn’t get him earlier in the season, as he has the extra quality they need.
Taking nothing away from the Pride, whose 40-16 win is their first since May, and the two points earned sees them edge away from the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, having overtaken the Capras.
The damage was done to Wynnum by half time as the Pride took a 24-4 lead to the break, Bradley Stephen had already grabbed a double by that time, two tries in six minutes following Shaun Nona’s opener for Wynnum in the 18th minute was the Pride reply.
The second 40 minutes was a little more even as the Pride outscored the Seagulls by only three tries to two, and 16 points to 12. The 54th minute saw the record equalling try for Wynnum’s Daniel Ogden, and by full time Pride flyer and Cowboys fringe player Gideon Gela-Mosby had crossed.
The win will give the Pride an excellent chance to avoid the wooden spoon, and it looks like the Seagulls will have to wait another year to get back into the finals.
See more here.
CQ Capras 6 Redcliffe Dolphins 42
@ Bear Park, Clermont
The Redcliffe Dolphins jumped back into life and top two contention as they broke a two game losing streak with a big win over the Central Capras.
The Capras are seemingly a good side for Redcliffe to play in recent seasons as their win on Saturday evening over Central takes the for and against to 220-30 for the last 5 encounters which have gone the way of Redcliffe.
They needed it too, as they were overtaken into third by Easts last weekend, and Townsville drew level on points. Good news for Redcliffe from other results saw the Blackhawks beaten by Ipswich.
There were eight tries in all for Redcliffe, spread evenly across the two 40 minute blocks, and included doubles for Tom Opacic and the fiery Curtis Johnston. Opacic’s double was wrapped up by half time where the Dolphins led 18-6 at the break after Billy Gilbert got the Capras’ only try of the evening.
Four unanswered tries in the second half gave the Dolphins the big win, and saw some big names like Zach Strasser and Shane Pumipi get on the try scoring sheet, names they will need if Redcliffe are to challenge for the Intrust Super Cup title. They sit 4th, whilst Central sit second last.
See more here.
Ipswich Jets 22 Townsville Blackhawks 20
@ Eric Lenton Memorial Recreation Ground, Winton
Ipswich kept their finals chances alive by upsetting the Townsville Blackhawks in Winton on Saturday night.
Despite the Townsville side being much closer to Saturday night’s venue than Ipswich, the Jets will have the good feeling of a vital win to take back to south east Queensland with them, after a fighting back from a Blackhawks onslaught early in the second half.
The Jets led 12-4 at half time after the Blackhawks scored first through recent recruit Jordan Drew in the 10th minute, but Ipswich replied with two quick in three minutes.
The second half saw Townsville overtake Ipswich very quickly with three tries in seven minutes, to NRL talent Blake Leary, Sione Lousi and someone who probably should be in Jonathon Rueben. That burst left them 20-12 in front at the 50th minute mark.
Ipswich fought back though, and scored two tries in six minutes, by which time they were back in front with just over 10 minutes to play, through ex NRL talent of their own Luke Capewell and prop Nat Neale who is in rich try scoring form with three in two games. Those final minutes didn’t see any further additions to the scoring, and the Jets held on for a win which keeps their season alive for another week.
In the end it came down to goal kicking, and not even having the competition point scoring leader Carlin Anderson was enough to give Townsville the Win in Winton.
The Jets remain in the hunt for the finals, but will need to do something about their negative for and against. Their win against the Blackhawks this weekend, after a competitive showing against Easts and win against Souths Logan in previous weeks proves they might be a big chance against the better teams if they make the finals.
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Norths Devils 12 Easts Tigers 34
The Cameras came to Mundubbera for the Intrust Super Cup Country week TV Game, and those who caught up with the game saw a performance from an Easts Tigers side that look finals ready, and right in the fight for a coveted top two position.
The Tigers have now drawn level with the Melbourne Storm feeder club stablemates Sunshine Coast on competition points, and are possibly the most in form team of the top 6.
They were way too good for the Devils on Sunday afternoon, controlling the first half with three tries by the 16th minute and led 16-0 at the break. Norths replied first after the break, but a quickfire two tries in three minutes saw the gap blow out to 28-4 with over 25 left to play.
Norths did put on two more tries to add some respectability to the score line, but Easts still had the final say with another converted try with a few minutes to go to underline their dominance on the day, and their looming menace in the finals.
The Devils can’t dream of finals, and sit just four points above last place, a long way from the competition lead that they held earlier in the season. A new head coach will be on board in 2018, and with the abolition of the Youth competition and Broncos arrangement they may benefit in 2018.
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Burleigh Bears 32 Sunshine Coast Falcons 26
@ Rowden Park, St George
The upset of the weekend came in St George as the Burleigh Bears did a lot of teams a favour by defeating the second placed Sunshine Coast Falcons in the south western Queensland town.
With all the big names in the Burleigh side it was Jake Carl, a police officer who has risen through country football in Bundaberg and the local Gold Coast competition who was the star on the day with a bag of four tries, making it eight tries in his last five games.
The first of his four tries came just before half time as the Bears extended their lead to 16-4 at the break, after opening the scoring in just the third minute. He had racked up his third try by the 53rd minute, by which time the Bears led 28-4.
Sunshine Coast made it an interesting finish with a four tries between the 62nd and 74th minutes, but Burleigh were just far enough ahead, and scored a late try just to be sure, the fourth to Jake Carl in the 72nd minute.
The win for Burleigh is purely academic as they can’t make the finals, but had it not been for the Titans injury toll and their associated poor start to the season they may have had a sniff of finals right now. Sunshine Coast have now lost three of their last five games, and finish the season against Townsville at home. Their lean run has allowed Easts and Redcliffe a chance to steal second place.
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Souths Logan Magpies 34 Tweed Heads Seagulls 18
@ Kev Bannah Oval, Julia Creek
Souths Logan Magpies crept closer to confirming their finals spot with a convincing win over the last placed Tweed Heads Seagulls way out west at Julia Creek.
The road trip from Tweed Heads and West End to Julia Creek is actually longer than a trip to Melbourne would be, and in that distance will allow the Magpies plenty of reflection on the great job they have done in 2017. The win has seen them draw level with Townsville, but fifth is likely as high as they will go given the state of the points and for/against difference to the teams above.
It was a tight first half between the Magpies and Seagulls, as a try to Sam Scarlett just before half time broke a 12-12 deadlock after Tweed Heads scored two tries in three minutes to respond to the earlier two tries to the Magpies.
After half time the Magpies went up a gear, and two tries in four minutes just after half time, plus another in the 64th minute gave them a handy 34-12 lead. Tweed Heads got a consolation try in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a loss and the keepingthe dreaded wooden spoon to themselves after their previous flatmate at the bottom Northern Pride got a much needed win to jump to 12th.
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PNG Hunters 28 Mackay Cutters 28
@ National Football Stadium, Port Moresby
A late try and conversion earned the travelling Mackay Cutters a valuable point against the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby. In fact the Cutters scored twice in the last ten minutes to overturn a 10 point deficit that the Hunters had held onto for most of the second half to that point.
It was deadlocked at the break at 12-12 as the Hunters and Cutters went try for try, firstly to the in-form fullback Stargroth Amean, then Yamba Bowie scored the first of his first half double a few minutes later. The ever improving Israel Eliab got another try to extend the Hunters lead, but by the break they were pegged back after Yamba Bowie’s second try and a penalty goal.
PNG came out with intent after the break, as the lanky Bland Abavu scored a quick double, and the Hunters led 22-12, a lead they held until the previously mentioned Mackay Cutters fight back in the last ten minutes.
The result sees the Hunters keep the competition lead, and the point earned edges them further towards a minor premiership as their nearest rivals Sunshine Coast were beaten by Burleigh in St George. It’s still all good for the Hunters, but there appears to be a chink in their armour, surprisingly in 2017 it seems to be at home. And they have a tough run ahead with a trip to Redcliffe next weekend and Ipswich at home and Townsville away after that. If they still have a four point gap by then they deserve the minor premiership.
Mackay are still a mathematic chance of finals but need either Townsville or the Magpies to lose all the remaining games, and overturn a 100 plus points difference.
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