Norths Devils, Burleigh Bears and Souths Logan Magpies are the unbeaten sides after round 2 of this year’s Intrust Super Cup.
Saturday saw three of the four home teams take wins, two of them against the odds as Ipswich and Northern Pride beat their more fancied opposition. Burleigh continue to show their premiership credentials with a good home win.
On Sunday a trio of games in Brisbane resulted in two close games, where the Falcons snatched victory from Wynnum with a late field goal, and the Cutters fell just short of beating the Tigers. At Davies Park however, the Souths Logan Magpies continued their great run to the season, whilst inflicting a second straight loss for Tweed Heads.
As is stands after the Intrust Super Cup Round 2, there are 3 teams left on a 100% record now, and 3 teams without a win.
MARMIN BARBA RETURNS ON A DAY OF DEFENCE…FORCE
The annual NAB Defence Force Appreciation Day clash of the teams who have strong links with the military – Ipswich Jets and Townsville Blackhawks rarely disappoints, and the TV game on Saturday between the two sides lived up to all the expectations.
Besides the two competition points and a great win over the premiership favourites who won by 44 points a week earlier, the most encouraging sign was seeing Marmin Barba back on the wing for the Jets. It completes one of the fastest and most exciting back trios in rugby league with Barba complimenting Michael Purcell and Wes Conlon. Not to mention centre Pio Seci who looks better with every view each week.
The Jets played in their usual style and was a welcome and refreshing change to see something different. It worked as the Jets led 12-0 at half time, Marmin Barba scoring their second as he finished off a nice movement to the left. Townsville hit back and drew level halfway through the second half, but Ipswich skipped ahead again through a six pointer and a penalty goal. The two Ipswich penalty goals ended up being the difference after Townsville equalled the Jets three tries late but fell short 20-18.
A good win for Ipswich, and good signs for more to come, and with a favourite of ours Marmin Barba back. For all their attack though, captain and prop Nathaniel Neale was named Man of the Month.
BEN HANNANT JOINS BURLEIGH
Former Bronco-Bulldog-Cowboy forward Ben Hannant sensationally came out of retirement this weekend turning out for the Burleigh Bears in their 2016 Grand Final rematch against the Redcliffe Dolphins. His appearance at Pizzey Park was his first after injury forced him to quit in the off season after the Cowboys NRL title win in 2016.
His presence added even more experience and firepower to a side that were dark horses at the start of the season, to being second favourites for the title after winning both fixtures this season.
The Bears scored within two minutes of kick off, but had to come from behind to lead at half time 16-12 after the Dolphins responded twice to the Bears opener. It took until the 68th minute for any more points, and that was a try scored by fullback Kurtis Rowe, and a subsequent penalty goal and field goal gave the Bears a comfortable win in the end, and an unbeaten start to the year. Throw in Ben Hannant and you have a side capable of winning plenty in 2018.
NO TODD CARNEY? NO PROBLEMS FOR PRIDE
NRL superstar and off season Pride recruit Todd Carney was a late withdrawal for the Northern Pride on Saturday evening, but it did no harm for the Cairns based side as they took care of defending premiers PNG Hunters 26-14. 2017 regular performer Jordan Biondi-Odo filled in for Carney at five eighth.
The Pride had things under control for most of the game, a first half double to Shawn Bowen and a penalty saw the Pride take advantage of Hunters errors to lead 14-0 at the break. A half which saw an unlikely makeshift fullback in Grand Final hero Willie Minoga.
By the time the Hunters got on the board in the 53rd minute through the very promising Charlie Simon and followed by the Hunters captain Ase Boas, the Pride were already 18-0 up. A final Pride try to Nathan Wales and a penalty goal was well and truly covered the Hunters final try to Butler Morris on a disappointing night for the defending champs.
Great win for the Pride after the disappointment of starting their season and losing in Brisbane last weekend.
DEVILS DOUBLE UP
Norths Devils continue their great start to the 2018 season with a strong win in Rockhampton over the Central Capras.
There was a quiet confidence amongst Norths fans before the start of the 2018 season, and you can only point to their two from two start to the season as the proof to their confidence. The 36-16 win on the road is impressive against a Capras side who beat Easts Tigers last weekend, and who features Dave Taylor.
Norths have their own forward with plenty of NRL experience – Sam Tagataese. He is certainly doing the job for the Devils after two rounds. The six tries to three win, with three tries either side of the break sees Norths up the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, with hopes of maintaining that lofty height as the games against some of the big guns loom.
A SUNDAY AFTERNOON TRIO OF TRADITIONAL KICK OFFS…
Sunday saw three 3pm kick offs at Suzuki Stadium, BMD Kougari Oval, and Davies Park, and the weather backed up the timeslot with a glorious Sunday afternoon in Brisbane. Two of three sets of home fans went home happy too, as Easts and Souths Logan got the two competition points. Wynnum, meanwhile were pipped by a late field goal to the Falcons.
At Suzuki Stadium the lead changed several time between the Tigers and Cutters, and ultimately goal kicking was the difference as the home side converted three of their five tries compared to Mackay’s two conversions. The Tigers took the lead for the second and final time in the 57th minute, and a late 79th minute unconverted try to the Cutters wasn’t enough to draw level and salvage a point.
Not far away at BMD Kougari Oval it was a similar story of changing leads, but this time it was two penalty goals and a late field goal that made the difference for the Sunshine Coast Falcons, as they beat the home side by 1 point despite scoring one less try. That field goal came in the 78th minute to Kurt Aldridge, previously Sunshine Coast had broke the deadlock y scoring a converted try in the 68th minute after Wynnum had led from just before half time.
No such problems for the Magpies at Davies Park as they led all the way against the Tweed Head Seagulls. Souths Logan led 28-6 at half time after laying on five tries to one, Guy Hamilton grabbing one try and four goals en route to a haul of 12 points. He is now second behind Carlin Anderson in the point scoring charts. The second forty minutes saw just 4 points to Tweed Heads, not enough for the Seagulls to start another season with two straight losses, but more than enough for the Magpies to stay undefeated.