FOUR POINTERS FROM THE GAME
Redcliffe v Burleigh was a Grand Final Replay, and that is how the rugby league season should start. The NRL missed a trick for their opening round by not having the two grand finalists head to head first week, and their first round was a little underwhelming in terms of great match ups.
Matt Lodge may yet win a place back in the NRL. The former Wests Tigers prop is on the comeback trail after being sacked by the Tigers following an arrest in New York in October 2015. He has been picked up by Redcliffe, possibly with an eye on the Broncos later in the year, and he showed that he will be a very decent signing for Redcliffe at a minimum with some great aggression in hit ups and defence. It’s a big pack for Redcliffe with Sam Anderson and Nathan Watts also sharing the workload.
Redcliffe fullback Jack Ahern obviously didn’t remember last year’s home loss to Burleigh in the first final as he replicated the feat of attempting to shield a ball over the line and failing to notice a speedy incoming Burleigh Bear who surprised him by diving at the ball and scoring. The Bear in question was Troy Leo who scored on his ISC debut, after scoring plenty in the Gold Coast competition in 2016. The mistake didn’t ultimately cost the Dolphins, but being scored against in those minutes leading up to the half time break change the momentum of a game. The 70 odd metre run in the second half showed the Bears have a potential flying try scoring machine on their hands in 2017 in Troy Leo.
It was a great tough encounter, with great big hits, and enthusiastic hit ups. The Dolphins always seemed to be in control on the scoreboard, and Burleigh’s effort to remain as enthusiastic as they were until the end was commendable. Luke Page in particular was as aggressive as he was in the Grand Final win.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 26
Tries: Nathan Watts (4m), Josh Beehag (12m), Zach Strasser (47m), Christian Hazard (70m)
Goals: Josh Beehag 4 Conv, 1 Pen.
BURLEIGH BEARS 8
Tries: Troy Leo (33m), Connor Broadhurst (61m)
The first TV game of the Intrust Super Cup season sees a Grand Final replay between the Redcliffe Dolphins and the Burleigh Bears on Sunday afternoon at Dolphin Oval.
Redcliffe will be looking for revenge after being well beaten in the first finals meeting between the two sides in the 2016 finals at Dolphin Oval, and then the Bears doubled up by taking the Grand Final.
These sides finished first and second in 2016, but the odds and popular opinion is that only the Dolphins look like they may be able to repeat that feat this season. Although few would have picked Burleigh as premiers before the 2016 season.
A lot has been said about the off season recruiting by Redcliffe, headlined by Benji Marshall and Matt Lodge, but some of their lesser known recruits may prove an even bigger plus come season’s end. The PNG powerhouse Thompson Teteh is some addition to their backlines, and the Falcons loss is certainly Redcliffe’s gain as the Sunshine Coast’s best at the tail end of 2016 Troy Giess joins the Dolphins pack.
Both sides lost important halves for 2017. Redcliffe have the upper hand as they lost only halfback Darren Nicholls where the Bears lost both of their star halves to NRL clubs in Cameron Cullen and Jamal Fogarty.
Has to be the battle of the halves. Burleigh lost both of their star halves for this season, and the question is whether the Bear’s 2017 combination can match the heights of last year’s pairing.
Redcliffe have some continuity as Zach Strasser remains at five eighth, and the versatile and excellent Christian Hazard spent some time in the halves at the end of 2016 when Darren Nicholls was injured.
Redcliffe look to have plenty, and cover the Bears in most positions.
Redcliffe by 20.
1. Jack Ahearn 2. Joshua Beehag 3. Thompson Teteh 4. Aaron Whitchurch 5. Jonus Pearson 6. Zach Strasser 7. Christian Hazard 8. Nathan Watts 9. Sheldon Pitama 18. Matthew Lodge 11. Brandon Lee 12. Troy Giess 13. Samuel Anderson (c) 14. Nicholas Slyney 15. Joshua Johnson 16. Tyson Cleal 17. Samson Graham
Coach: Adam Mogg
1. Tyler Chadburn 2. Troy Leo 3. Sami Sauiluma 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Oliver Regan 6. Daniel Schwass 7. Samuel Grant 8. Luke Page (c) 9. Sam Coster 10. Paterika Vaivai 11. Rhys Duke 12. Lorenzo Ma’afu 13. Jeff Lynch 14. Christopher Law 15. Matthew White 16. Darren Griffiths 17. Dylan Kelly
Coach: Jim Lenihan
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