FULL MATCH REVIEW
Sunshine Coast 7 – Easts Tigers 7
The Falcons and Tigers opened the 2017 Intrust Super Cup with a typical early season encounter. The 7-7 score line was an apt reflection of the game as both teams defended mightily but failed to completed the attacking opportunities they created.
It was the Falcons who scored first in the 25th minute. Guy Hamilton passed to Eddie Tautali who made a clean break and then, as the defence converged, kicked ahead. Tigers fullback Linc Port recovered the kick but a fantastic chase by Tautali and Jake Turpin saw him pushed in goal. From the ensuing drop out the Tigers sent the ball 40 metres, however back to back penalties allowed the Falcons to get back down field quickly. Hooker Alex Bishop, who was among their best all day, scooted from dummy half and deftly placed a kick off the outside of his boot for winger Matthew Soper-Lawler to score.
The Falcons left side of Justin Olam and Soper-Lawler looked dangerous all day and the Falcons will be hoping they get to see more of Storm player Olam so the two can build on a promising start. Bishop very nearly set up another try with the same kick, only for Olam to called offside.
The Tigers best attacking opportunity of the half came when Charlie Galo made a break up the middle of the field and off loaded to fellow Storm contracted player Scott Drinkwater. Drinkwater slipped the pass to a flying Gerard McCullum, who was in the clear, however the ball drifted forward.
Both teams would have gone to the sheds frustrated with the amount of dropped ball and penalties, particularly the Falcons who had the Tigers pinned in their danger zone for long periods of the half.
Interestingly both coaches took the same message to their respective teams at the break ‘hold the ball and we will win.’
It was the Tigers who started the second spell with more energy in both attack and defence and in the ninth minute Jack Svedsen scored their try. Billy Walters held the ball back till the last minute before slipping it to Svedsen, who was running a beautiful line in attack, and used his size and strength to crash over on the Falcons left edge. Walters slotted the conversion and for the first time the Tigers had the lead.
Both teams had their chances as the half wore on, however they both suffered from an inability to finish their sets effectively. They were generally able to work through five plays (allowing for the odd dropped ball or penalty) however poor kicks and last play penalties soured either sides chances of scoring.
An action packed last five minutes saw the teams trade field goals (Tommy Butterfield in the 74th minute and Guy Hamilton in the 77th minute) as they searched for the win. With the scores level the game came down to a frantic final minute. The Tigers set up professionally for another shot at goal, on the third tackle. However, an equally professional Falcons defence could see what was coming and rushed Brodie Croft ensuring he could not get the shot away. The defence then rushed again on the next tackle, ensuring no other Tiger would get a shot on goal. The Tigers spun the ball left and then right looking for one last chance, however it was not to be found.
The Falcons best on the night were Alex Bishop, Tui Kamaikamica and Jake Turpin, while for the Tigers Scott Drinkwater and the ever-reliable Tommy Butterfield led the way.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 7
Tries: Matthew SOPER-LAWLER (25m)
Goals: Pen Goal (58m)
Field Goal: Guy HAMILTON (77m)
EASTS TIGERS 7
Tries: Jack SVENDSEN (49m)
Goals: Conversion (51m)
Field Goal:Tommy BUTTERFIELD (74m)
Round One of the 2017 Intrust Super Cup features a number of mouth-watering clashes, including the traditional replay of the previous year’s Grand Final. That is for Sunday though, the first game for the season is the battle of the Melbourne Storm feeder clubs. Since joining the Falcons former Tigers mentor Craig Ingebrigsten has made a habit of poaching players and this off season was no different. Former Tigers Club Captain Dane Hogan and fellow 100 game man Liam McDonald made the trek up the Bruce Highway along with talented youngsters Guy Hamilton and Whetu Austin. This will add another layer of spice to what was always going to be an exciting game.
Last year the results were evenly split with both teams claiming convincing home wins (Round 2 Easts Tigers, 24-8 at Suzuki Stadium, Round 15 Sunshine Coast Falcons 26-6 at Sunshine Coast Stadium). Both teams have been significant players in the transfer market so last year’s results will not be offer much value as an indicator.
The battle of the fullbacks looks like being worth the trip to the Sunshine Coast on its own. Former New Zealand Warrior and Test player Kevin Locke plays his first game for the Falcons, while Linc Port debuts for the Tigers. Port had a very good off season impressing both Tigers and Storm coaching staff and culminating in playing for the Storm in the Auckland 9’s. With speculation over Billy Slaters long term future and Cameron Munster’s potential move to five eight both men will undoubtedly have an eye on an NRL birth and will be looking to get an early advantage of their rival.
Live Stream Broadcast: TigerTV (www.thetigers.com.au)
Sunshine Coast Falcons
1. Kevin Locke 2. Samuel Wright 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Jeremy Hawkins 5. Justin Olam 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Guy Hamilton 21. Tui Kamikamica 9. Alex Bishop 10. Harrison Muller 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Joe Stimson 13. Jon Grieve 14. Jake Turpin 15. Jye Ballinger 16. Martin Cordwell 17. Lachlan Timm 18. Liam McDonald 19. Whetu Austin 20. Matthew Soper-Lawler
Coach: Craig Ingebrigtsen
1. Linc Port 2. Jarrod McInally 3. Shane Neumann 4. Conor Carey 5. Gerard McCullum 6. Billy Walters 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Steven Thorpe 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Matthew Zgrajewski 11. Jake Foster (c) 12. Luke Lavelle 13. Jack Svendsen 14. David Murphy 15. Liufau Hala 16. Adam Crear 17. Scott Drinkwater 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Charlie Galo 20. Slade Griffin
Coach: Scott Sipple
|Sunshine Coast Stadium|
|31 Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina QLD 4575, Australia|