The Sunshine Coast Falcons scored an emotional win in spectacular style on the weekend as they destroyed the Tweed Heads Seagulls with a 49-10 win at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, their first win since the passing of James Ackerman.
It wasn’t the only big win in Round 18 as the Redcliffe Dolphins and Townsville Blackhawks posted huge wins over Burleigh and Norths respectively. There was an upset and almost another as Souths Logan beat Northern Pride in Tully and the Central Capras lead at half time against Wynnum.
The highlight was the TV game between Easts Tigers and Ipswich which had everything a league fan could want, and showcased why the Intrust Super Cup is so good to watch.
Here’s the ladder after 18 rounds.
Townsville Blackhawks 32 (+430), PNG Hunters 29 (+162), Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28 (+187), Ipswich Jets 26 (+166), Easts Tigers 23 (+167), Mackay Cutters 22 (+64), Northern Pride 20 (+12), Burleigh Bears 18 (-183), Redcliffe Dolphins 17 (+45), Tweed Heads Seagulls 15 (-41), Souths Logan Magpies 14 (-128), Sunshine Coast Falcons 13 (-161), Norths Devils 9 (-320), CQ Capras 6 (-400).
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 50 def NORTHS DEVILS 6 @ Jack Manski Oval (H/T 38-0)
Townsville were back in Townsville and back to their destructive best on Saturday as they dismantled another Intrust Super Cup side by 44 points. Norths who are struggling in second last had a few Broncos contracted players in the side to assist them in breaking their losing streak, but a few bigger names wasn’t enough against the competition front runners.
The Blackhawks started the scoring in the 10th minute, and again 5 minutes later to take an early 8-0 lead after some strong defence from both sides. But Townsville showed why they are top and with a gigantic for and against as they put on five tries in the last 15 minutes of the first half to lead 38-0 at the break.
With Townsville already registering a 78-6 win against Burleigh earlier in the year, Norths may well have worried what the final margin would be, but to their credit, despite the Blackhawks scoring the first try of the second half, they kept the second half to a respectable 2 tries to 1 and the final margin just 6 points more than the half time difference.
Norths have two relatively easier fixtures coming up against Souths Logan and Central in the next three weeks and will need to win at least one of those to definitely avoid the wooden spoon. Townsville’s march to at least the minor premiership continues with a much tougher prospect next week against the Easts Tigers.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAPGIES 17 def NORTHERN PRIDE 8 @ Tully Showgrounds (H/T 10-4)
Souths Logan caused the upset of the round as they beat the Northern Pride in their own backyard of sorts in Tully. Not for the first this year the Magpies have taken one of their home games to the region of their opponents, and this was their second successful home game away from Davies Park.
Souths Logan’s recent upturn in performances was confirmed in Tully as they defeated last year’s premiers, putting a large dent in the Pride’s quest for a back to back title.
The Pride were on the scoreboard first halfway through the first half, but it was to be their only highlight as the home side hit back 10 minutes later and again before half time to lead 10-4. The Magpies extended their lead to 16-4 after the break, and although the Pride scored to make it 16-8, errors meant they made no further progress. A field goal topped off the evening nicely for the Magpies.
The Pride will rue the opportunity to climb the ladder in the race for finals, and travel all the way to Tweed Heads next weekend. Souths Logan will hope to make it three wins from four as they play Norths at Bishop Park.
EASTS TIGERS 18 def IPSWICH JETS 16 @ Tapout Energy Stadium (H/T 14-8)
It was some exhibition of what the Intrust Super Cup can offer at Tapout Energy Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as the local Queensland Cup put on a game of high quality for the TV cameras for the second week in a row. One could argue a much better game than the NRL game to follow. Anyone who gets the chance to see a replay on Fox should do themselves a favour.
It was a clash of two of the Intrust Super Cup’s regular finals participants, with Easts Tigers the defensive machine who are also very handy with the ball, and the Ipswich Jets who attack from anywhere.
It was end to end attack from both sides throughout with the home side taking a leaf out of their opponents book with some great attack including a kick for the corner on the second tackle for the first two tries of the match. Ipswich hit back not long after to level at 8-8, but the Tigers had a reply in them before the break and took a 14-8 lead to half time.
The second half had even more action than the first despite a lack of points scored, with plenty of flair and skill on show from both sides with minimal dropped ball. It was two tries to one in the second half to Ipswich, including a try directly from one the Jets’ famed short kick offs. But with the tries scored out wide and a ferocious breeze to contend with, none of the tries were converted and the Tigers won 18-16. Once it came down to an arm wrestle in the final minutes, the Tigers always looked the most likely to get the two points. Although it is never quite safe when Ipswich has the ball.
One thing to be said from the game is the variety of kick offs produced by the Jets. In a world where Rugby League becomes more predictable the Jets offer a refreshingly different slant of something as simple as a kick off. Instead of wondering which side of the posts the ball will be caught from, an Ipswich kickoff could go anywhere, and usually does. The best one is drilling it at the helpless prop standing 10 metres away from a goal line restart, they usually drop the ball or it goes over the line and get the ball back. But at least it is different.
Easts Tigers will need to take that form into next weekend as the all conquering Blackhawks arrive for a big clash at Tapout Energy Stadium. It’s not much easier for the Jets as they head to Wynnum for a clash against the Seagulls.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 64 def BURLEIGH BEARS 6 @ Pizzey Park
The Redcliffe proved that last weekend’s draw against the PNG Hunters was no one-off as they thrashed the Burleigh Bears 62 – 6 on the Gold Coast. The 11 tries to 1 win gives the Dolphins a sniff of finals football, and if their performances continue from the previous two games they will be a danger to all sides.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though, as the Bears were just 10-6 down after 25 minutes after they replied to Redcliffe’s first two tries of the game. Another two tries to the Dolphins gave them a handy but not insurmountable 22-6 lead.
The second half was all Redcliffe as the visitors put on 42 unanswered points and 7 tries to gain revenge for the Bears stealing a win at Dolphin Oval in Round 1. Burleigh have now been on the receiving end of some big losses, but nothing to this extent at home.
With Redcliffe needing to continue winning to be any chance of making the finals, they are handed an easy fixture on paper against Central in Rockhampton, a side they beat by 60 points at Redcliffe earlier in the year. Burleigh travel to Mackay to make amends.
Good news for Redcliffe who name former head coach of Redcliffe and the Brisbane Broncos Anthony Griffin to take over from Troy Lindsay from next season.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 36 def DENTRAL CAPRAS 14 @ BMD Kougari Oval (H/T Cent 14-6)
The upset of the season looked a real possibility on Brisbane’s bayside on Sunday as the Capras – who are winless since Round 1 – took a half time lead against the high flying Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
The Seagulls continued their struggles of playing northern Queensland sides at home, as they struggled with the Capras in the first half, after losses at home to Mackay and Northern Pride earlier in the season.
The 14-6 half time lead for the Capras was deserved as they outplayed their much more fancied rivals for the first 40 minutes, and it was probably their best half of football for the year.
Unfairly for the Capras, the home side clicked into gear in the final 40 minutes as they ran in 6 tries and 30 unanswered points to ensure they stay in the race for second place and another finals campaign at minimum.
It was a lost opportunity for the Capras to win their second game of the season, and will have to contend with the Dolphins visiting next weekend. Wynnum Manly will be tested again by the Ipswich Jets at home.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 49 def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS @ Sunshine Coast Stadium (H/T 32-6)
The Sunshine Coast got the win they craved to honour their fallen comrade, a week later than they would have hoped for, but the style and magnitude of the win would have gone some way to making up for it.
For the second time this year, the Sunshine Coast Falcons beat the Seagulls, a fair achievement given the Falcons total of wins last year was only one.
After the visiting Seagulls scored the first try, it was all one way traffic for the home side as they stormed out to a 32-6 lead at the break and looked good for the win. The second half repeated the first as Tweed scored first again only to be overrun by a barrage of Falcons tries. A field goal gave the home side a nice finishing touch on their best win of the season.
They Falcons will be looking to do the double over another side next weekend against the PNG Hunters in PNG. Tweed Heads play the Northern Pride back on the Gold Coast.
ROUND 18 IN DETAIL
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 50 (Lenny Magey 2, Nathan Norford 2, Kyle Feldt, Mosese Pangai, Tom Humble, Samsen O’Neill, Noel Underwood tries; Kyle Feldt 5, Tom Humble 2 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 6 (Michael Lucas try; Liam Tyson goal) at Jack Manski Oval.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 17 (Tim Brooks, Rhys Jacks, Travis Waddell tries; Jack Joass 2 goals; Travis Waddell field goal) def NORTHERN PRIDE 8 (Brett Anderson, Justin Castellaro tries) at Tully Showgrounds.
EASTS TIGERS 18 Shane Neumann 2, Michael Kai, Mahe Fonua tries; Shaun Nona goal def IPSWICH JETS 16 Richard Pandia, Brandon McGrady, Billy McConnachie tries; Carlin Anderson 2 goals.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 64 (Tom Opacic 2, Nick Ritter 2, Tristan Lumley, Marlon Doak, Luke Capewell, Charlie Faingaa, Darcy Etrich, Logan Harris, Harley Aiono tries; Luke Capewell 10 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 6 (Jaiden Hawkes try; Khan Ahwang goal) at Pizzey Park
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 36 (John Te Reo 2, Matthew Grieve, Mitchell Buckett, Patrick Templeman, Jon Grieve, Brendon Gibb tries; Mathew Seamark 4 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 14 (Reece Baker, Tarrant Mariner, Tyson White tries; Josh Mitchell goal) at BMD Kougari Oval.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 49 (Young Tonumaipea 3, Sam Young 2, Rowan Klein, Suliasi Vunivalu, Kurt Mann, Johnny Vuetibau tries; Ryan Hansen 5, David Oakes goals; Billy Brittain field goal) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 10 (James Wood, Karl Lawton tries; Ali Grant goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.