Hard to figure in a match between the two of the competition’s stingiest defensive teams, who had previously conceded 12 points a game or lower, that this match would end up seeing 74 points scored. But that’s what the 8th Round of the intrust Super Cup has been all about in general, not quite what you would have expected.
The Redcliffe Dolphins moved to the top of the competition ladder with the 46-28 win, taking advantage of their great performance against the previous leaders and the Tigers loss on Saturday night.
A Dolphins win looked unlikely as the Falcons stunned Redcliffe with a three try burst in the first 10 minutes, and they held a 18-0 that one would presume be hard to chase down against a team with the best defensive record in the competition.
But Redcliffe had a burst of their own, and from the 21st minute piled on five unanswered tries in 16 minutes to turn an 18 point deficit into a 24-18 half time lead. Tom Opacic scored a brace among the those 5 first half tries, and Matt Lodge the first of an unlikely double for the big prop on the comeback trail.
The Falcons hit back first 6 minutes after half time, and the scores were level once more as Jeremy Hawkins scored. But once again the home side went on a try scoring spree, scoring four unanswered tries in 14 minutes, including a 10 minute hat trick to Christian Hazard to put the game beyond doubt for Redcliffe.
A consolation try added some respectability to the score line, but the Falcons will have to wait for next time to get revenge for the finals loss in 2016 after their first loss away from home in 2017.
Redcliffe regain the competition lead, and will look to keep it at home to the Magpies next weekend. Sunshine Coast travel to Tweed Heads.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 46
Tries: Tom Opacic (21m), Matt Lodge (27m), Thompson Teteh (30m), Josh Beehag (34m), Tom Opacic (37m), Matt Lodge (56m), Christian Hazard (60m), Christian Hazard (60m), Christian Hazard (60m)
Goals: Josh Beehag 1 Conv, Tyson Gamble 4 Conv
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 28
Tries: Vincent Leuluai (3m), Guy Hamilton (6m), Matthew Soper-Lawler (10m), Jeremy Hawkins (45m), Matthew Soper-Lawler (73m)
Goals: Guy Hamilton 4 Conv
The Intrust Super Cup’s biggest Round 8 clash in terms of ladder position is at Dolphin Oval on Sunday afternoon for the match up of competition leaders Sunshine Coast Falcons and 3rd placed Redcliffe Dolphins.
The last time these two teams played was in the 2016 Preliminary Final where Redcliffe ended the Falcons surprising finals run which saw them knock off PNG and Townsville away. This time around it is the Falcons who are top, and the form side coming into the game with 5 straight wins. Redcliffe lost just their second game of the season by two points in Port Moresby last weekend in the Intrust Super Cup’s toughest road trip.
Redcliffe’s 12-10 loss to the Hunters last weekend was a tight affair, and on paper this should be more of the same, with both of these the only two teams under 100 points conceded so far in 2017. The 12 points against the Hunters conceded is actually the Dolphins average conceded for the season, and the Falcons have let in five points less. So expect another tight affair at Dolphin Oval.
They are behind three sides in attack, but defence usually wins premierships, and on that stat and current form it is easy to argue that this could be a 2017 Grand Final preview.
WHO TO LOOK FOR
One battle to watch will be the PNG centres playing for either side. The Falcons’ Justin Olam and Redcliffe’s Thompson Teteh were Hunters team mates, but both are chasing NRL dreams and have moved south out of the PNG comfort zone.
Given it is shaping as a tight game, the forward packs will play a big part and on paper the Dolphins pack looks the strongest, but the Falcons pack has plenty to offer, and one of the unsung heroes for them of late has been Jye Ballinger who shone in the last televised game against the Hunters.
Redcliffe to jump ahead of the Falcons with a 18-17 victory, with a late try to one of the Dolphins’ forwards.
1. Jack Ahearn 2. Joshua Beehag 3. Thompson Teteh 19. Moses Pangai 5. Jonus Pearson 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Christian Hazard 18. Matthew Lodge 14. Hugh Pratt 13. Samuel Anderson (c) 11. Brandon Lee 12. Troy Giess 17. Samson Graham 4. Aaron Whitchurch 8. Rulon Nutira 9. Hayden Hansen 16. Myles Taueli
Coach: Adam Mogg
Sunshine Coast Falcons
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Matthew Soper-Lawler 3. Whetu Austin 4. Justin Olam 5. Samuel Wright 6. Alex Bishop (c) 7. Guy Hamilton 18. Tui Kamikamica 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lachlan Timm 22. Jye Ballinger 12. Joe Stimson 13. Jon Grieve 14. Sean Yorston 15. Christian Morris 16. Harrison Muller 17. Vincent Leuluai 19. Martin Cordwell
Coach: Craig Ingebrigtsen
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