A big Easter weekend in the Intrust Super Cup Round 4 saw another intriguing bunch of fixtures, with early competition favourites for the 2018 crown enjoying very different weekends, the first battle of the Storm feeder clubs decided, and an upset or two thrown in.
Easter weekend was a good one for the Burleigh Bears, who at the end of the Intrust Super Cup Round 4 are now the only unbeaten team left after Wynnum upset the Norths Devils as the Broncos curtain raiser at Suncorp Stadium.
Book-ending the 2018 Intrust Super Cup ladder is the other Gold Coast side Tweed Heads Seagulls, who remain win-less after 4 games, and couldn’t continue their winning ways against the PNG Hunters.
Northern Pride continued their fine start to the season with another win over a North Queensland Foley Shield rival, Central Capras upset the Ipswich Jets at home on Thursday night, and Redcliffe continued Townsville’s surprisingly ordinary run of result on Saturday night.
The top 6 after Intrust Super Cup Round 4 certainly looks a lot different from what most would have predicted before the season kicked off, except those with a canny eye on the Bears, who have surely now moved from dark horse to front-runner.
THURSDAY NIGHT’S ALL RIGHT FOR CAPRAS
After blowing a solid half-time lead for a rare win in Mackay last weekend, the Capras fans must have thought a certain déjà vu on Thursday night in Rockhampton as the Capras let a 10-0 half time lead slip and fell behind 18-10 to the Ipswich Jets by the 60th minute.
Credit to the Capras who turned it around with three tries in the last 13 minutes, the final one with just a minute to go to seal the game after withstanding substantial pressure from Ipswich.
It gives the Central Capras a better than usual 2-2 start to the year, the same as their vanquished opponents Ipswich after the Intrust Super Cup Round 4 upset of the weekend.
EASTS ARE MORE STORM READY
The two Melbourne Storm feeder clubs went head to head at Suzuki Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and the end result of 38-8 was in stark contrast from 2017 where the two games were drawn and decided by a field goal.
Not for the first time in 2018, the damage was done for the Falcons in the first time, as they trailed by a mammoth 30-0 at the break, as the Tigers looked as dominant over a side as seen in any game so far in the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season.
Easts were just too slick for the Falcons, one of their best was the effort from former Falcon Scott Drinkwater who scooped up a grubber in his regular fullback duties and then proceeded to carve his way through the Sunshine Coast side to run the length of the field for the Tigers second try. Occasional Storm player Young Tonumaipea scored a hat trick, his third full of power and speed in the 65th minute putting any form of potential Falcons comeback to bed. That was after the Falcons took advantage of a numerical advantage when a scuffle after a late hit off the ball sparked a melee that saw three sent to the sin-bin.
In the end the second half was 8-8 between the two sides, but the Tigers had it under control, and their seven tries to two win makes up for the disappointment of losing to Ipswich last weekend. Both sides have two wins from four game, Easts’ superior for and against sees them best of the two win wonders in 4th, the size of the loss leaves the Falcons in 11th, and behind in the race for the best Melbourne Storm feeder club.
REDCLIFFE UNEARTH A POTENTIAL NEW GREAT RUGBY LEAGUE STORY
After unveiling a great potential future Bronco last weekend in Kotoni Staggs in their good win over Bayside rivals Wynnum, the Dolphins have a great rugby league story on their hands in the shape of Obed Karwhin.
Winger Obed Karwhin comes from a quite different background to most rugby league players, as he was a refugee from the Ivory Coast, born in a time of civil war in that country. He was previously with Wests Tigers in lower grades, and will be hoping a stint in Redcliffe colours will do for him exactly what a bayside Brisbane stint did for Tigers legend Benji Marshall last season.
The game itself saw a tight contest, that was ultimately decided on goal kicking and penalties. The ultimate 12 point difference at full-time coming down to 4 penalty goals, and Staggs nailing all three conversions for Redcliffe’s three tries, compared to Carlin Anderson’s solitary conversion for Townsville’s three tries. Redcliffe led just 10-6 at half time.
For pre season Premiership favourites Townsville Blackhawks, they are now in unfamiliar territory towards the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, and the 1-3 start is their poorest start to a season since inception in 2015. In saying that, they will probably come out and smash Tweed Heads at home next weekend.
STARGROTH AMEAN SIGNS OFF FROM THE PNG HUNTERS WITH A TRY
Shock news was announced leading into this weekend’s clash between the PNG Hunters and the Tweed Heads Seagulls, as their star fullback Stargroth Amean revealed the game would be his last, deciding to concentrate on his studies and a post rugby league career.
First of all, what a shame and a loss for PNG rugby league to lose a player who had such a great 2017. If it weren’t for the NRL quality of PNG Kumul’s captain David Mead, he would have surely been the Kumuls number 1 at the Rugby League World Cup, and he was a major part of the Hunter Intrust Super Cup success. He had missed the first game of the season for the Hunters, but looked on the comeback trail after coming off the bench in Round 2 and starting last weekend against the Falcons. And after such a great 2017, could this have been the year he caught the eye of an NRL club?
Sadly, we will never know, but given the past history of the Hunters/PNG players being able to be given a go at the NRL, it probably would have been a no anyway. Perhaps he’s seen players like ex Hunters Justin Olam, or fellow Kumuls Rod Griffin or Rhyse Martin continue to be overlooked by the NRL despite being a big part of the respective feeder programs and named in respective Intrust competitions teams of the year no less. As good as the Wellington brothers and the late Kato Ottio have played in PNG colours or for NRL feeder clubs, it seems only UK Super League clubs are prepared to take a chance.
With the Hunters having no official feeder program with an NRL club, there remains a very big market for an NRL club willing to take a chance. Rugby League in Australia it seems aren’t too big on risk takers. Take a look at the lack of new names in the early rounds of the NRL.
In the meantime, we salute Stargroth Amean, and all the entertainment he has brought.
As for the game against Tweed Heads, the Hunters got over their hoodoo of the Seagulls with a win. They led by as much as 26-6, before allowing Tweed Heads back in the game when their 74th minute try made the score 26-18. Thankfully Watson Boas sealed the game two minutes later.
Burleigh and Souths Logan didn’t disappoint in their Saturday afternoon clash, the Bears 40-28 win underlining their premiership credentials with a seven tries to five victory over a side expected to finish top 6 at minimum. Former NRL player Brenko Lee turned out for the Burleigh side on the weekend, further strengthening an already strong squad leading the competition. Not a bad effort from Souths Logan but, they have now lost two in a row, against Burleigh and Norths in consecutive weeks.
Northern Pride got home over Mackay 22-16 in a game where goal kicking made the difference as the Pride’s 2/4 proved superior to the Cutters 0/4 and a Pride penalty goal was thrown in too. Mackay scored two tries in the last seven minutes to make life uncomfortable for the home side, but they held on. Lachlan Coote did score for the Mackay Cutters in the loss in his comeback for the Cowboys, and given the NRL side’s underwhelming start to 2018, he will no doubt be moving up next weekend..
Norths entered weekend as one of two unbeaten sides, but were handed their first loss of the season by Wynnum, a fellow Broncos feeder club on the grand stage of Suncorp Stadium as a curtain raiser for the main game. The five tries to three win saw three of the their tries scored by former Norths players Daniel Ogden and Delouise Hoeter. Wynnum led 14-0 early, but Norths stayed in the game with timely four pointers, and were only eight points shy in the last 10 minutes before a final Seagulls try, and field goal sealed the game.
INTRUST SUPER CUP ROUND 4 RESULTS
CENTRAL CAPRAS 28 Ipswich Jets 18
EASTS TIGERS 38 Sunshine Coast Falcons 8
BURLEIGH BEARS 40 Souths Logan Magpies 28
NORTHERN PRIDE 22 Mackay Cutters 16
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 26 Townsville Blackhawks 14
PNG HUNTERS 32 Tweed Heads Seagulls 18
Norths Devils 18 WYNNUM SEAGULLS 31 @ Suncorp Stadium