Intrust Super Cup Round 22 has been completed, and while the top six picture has been made a little clearer with two round to go, it is still a three-way tussle for the minor premiership after the Dolphins beat the Blackhawks in the top of the table clash. Burleigh kept in the race by beating Souths Logan.
Northern Pride and Easts are in form and reasonably safe with their for and against, the 6th placed PNG Hunters are also in form, but their skinny points difference opens them up to having their finals spot stolen by Ipswich or Norths.
At the bottom, Mackay were brave but ultimately lost, and despite the Capras loss at Ipswich they still remain three points behind with just two weeks left to avoid the wooden spoon.
All of the above is explained in a little more detail below with the Best of Intrust Super Cup Round 22.
THE BATTLE FOR THE MINOR PREMIERSHIP
REDCLIFFE BACK ON TOP AFTER WINNING TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH IN TOWNSVILLE
If the clash in Townsville is a preview of the Grand Final, then those at Suncorp Stadium in September will be in for a cracking affair based on this weekend’s top of the table clash won by Redcliffe with a try in the 78th minute and the subsequent conversion.
That late try and conversion was the sixth time the lead had changed hands between the two sides, not bad when you consider it was only four tries a piece. In the end goal kicking was the difference, Redcliffe’s Kotoni Staggs kicking 2/4, where the Blackhawks landed just one conversion.
Townsville held the upper hand for the first half, scoring first in just the 3rd minute, and outscored Redcliffe three tries to two to hold a 12-10 half time lead. Redcliffe scored first in the second half after 55 minutes, but lost the lead again when Townsville scored with 13 minutes to go. Of course the Dolphins had the final say, and grabbed the competition lead in the process.
A negative for the Dolphins was the injury to Jonus Pearson, a suspected broken wrist.
Burleigh drew level with the Blackhawks on 30 points to make next weekend’s big clash in Townsville extra spicy. The Bears poured more misery on the Magpies season with a solid 22-12 win at Davies Park. Burleigh scored after just two minutes, and by half time led 18-6. The two tries were shared in the second half, meaning Burleigh kept their hopes for a minor premiership or home final intact, Souths Logan can look to 2019, but also have a reasonable amount of pride at the amount of talent that are now Broncos regulars that came through Davies Park.
It all sets up Round 23 nicely, with all of the top four playing each other. Redcliffe (1st) take on the Northern Pride (4th), and in between are the Blackhawks (2nd) and Bears (3rd).
HOW THEY STAND
REDCLIFFE 1st 31pts +179
TOWNSVILLE 2nd 30pts +229
BURLEIGH 3rd 30pts +122
REDCLIFFE – Pride (A) Falcons (H)
TOWNSVILLE – Burleigh (A) Wynnum (A)
BURLEIGH – Townsville (H) Tigers (A)
THE TOP SIX BATTLE
PRIDE SAFE, TIGERS AND HUNTERS CONSOLIDATE, JETS AND DEVILS HANG ON
It will have to take an extraordinary set of results for the Northern Pride not to play finals football this season, and an equally extraordinary set of results to win the minor premiership. That sums up where they are at the moment, fourth place is where they sit on the ladder, and it looks to be a likely end destination. Not a bad one as it guarantees as home final.
They defeated the last placed Mackay Cutters on Saturday evening, making it a Foley Shield clean sweep of the other two teams (Mackay and Townsville). They worked hard for it though, leading 8-6 at the break, Mackay found themselves level with the Pride after crossing for their second try in the 56th minute, until the Pride scored five minutes later and skipped further end just before the end, Not for the first time this season Mackay were in a winning position in the second half and couldn’t convert.
Ipswich Jets were as entertaining as ever in their 42-28 win over the Capras in the TV game, but more importantly for Ipswich fans, the two points earned keeps them in the finals race, The team traded tries early, but the Jets did take off not long after to outscore the Capras five tries to two and lead 28-10 at the break. It was a little more even in the second half, as the Capras held their own to reduce the damage. However, the Rockhampton based side can still finish last.
A tale of two halves in the all important clash on the Sunshine Coast between the Falcons and Easts Tigers. Goal kicking ended up being the difference between the two sides as the Falcons outscored the Tigers five tries to four, but Brodie Croft kicked 4/4 Conversions and a penalty and the Falcons just 2/5 conversions.
As for the two halves, it was the Tigers who started out strongly and scored four tries in the first half, the first to NRL big name Sam Kasiano in the seventh minute and they took a 24-0 lead to the break. Game over right? Wrong. The Sunshine Coast came out of the break and into a try scoring frenzy, scoring two minutes after half time, and by the 58th minute they had run in four more to draw level at 24-24. Sadly for the Falcons the missed conversions hurt when Brodie Croft secured the game with a 68th minute penalty goal.
It would take a large disaster for Easts to miss the finals now, and an equally good set of results for the Falcons to make it.
The PNG Hunters remain 6th after achieving something they were unable to do in the premiership season last year – beat the Tweed Heads Seagulls. It looked like 2017 all over again early too as the Seagulls raced out to a 10-0 lead by the 13th minute, but thankfully for the Hunters finals tilt they responded and led by half time 12-10. They skipped ahead after the break too, out to a 22-10 lead by the 61st minute, but Tweed Heads weren’t done and made it very interesting with two tries in the 67th and 72nd minutes. The Hunters held on, and can thank their superior goal kicking for getting home in the end.
Ironic that the only home win on the Sunday went to the side that had one of the worst home records of the 2018 season – the Wynnum Seagulls. The Seagulls got home 26-24 in the end, but not after the lead changed five times throughout the afternoon. Once again the winning side got home on the back of more successful goal kicking, Wynnum landing all their 4 conversions and Norths missing one.
HOW THEY STAND
PRIDE 4th 28pts +80
EASTS 5th 26pts +101
HUNTERS 6th 26pts +18
IPSWICH 7th 24pts +5
NORTHS 8th 24pts -21
FALCONS 9th 22pts +26
PRIDE – Redcliffe (H) Tweed (H)
EASTS – Magpies (H) Burleigh (H)
HUNTERS – Wynnum (H) Central (H)
NORTHS – Mackay (A) Ipswich (H)
FALCONS – Central (A) Redcliffe (A)
IPSWICH – Tweed (H) Norths (A)
THE BATTLE FOR THE BOTTOM
The contest between Mackay Cutters and Central Capras goes to the second last weekend of the regular season after both sides lost this weekend.
Mackay Cutters had drawn level with the Pride with 20 minutes to go, but then saw the fourth placed Pride scored twice more to deny them win. Central Capras were well beaten by the Ipswich Jets, but scored late to add respectability to the score.
The Capras are in the box seat being three points ahead and Mackay need to win both and hope Central lose both, but have the much harder fixtures remaining.
HOW THEY STAND
CENTRAL 13th 12pts -210
MACKAY 14th 9pts -302
CENTRAL – Falcons (H) PNG (H)
MACKAY – Norths (H) Magpies (H)
INTRUST SUPER CUP ROUND 22 RESULTS
IPSWICH JETS 42 Central Capras 28
Townsville Blackhawks 18 REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 20
Mackay Cutters 12 NORTHERN PRIDE 24
Sunshine Coast Falcons 24 EASTS TIGERS 26
Souths Logan Magpies 12 BURLEIGH BEARS 22
Tweed Heads Seagulls 18 PNG HUNTERS 22
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 26 Norths Devils 24