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Hunters edge out Blackhawks in thriller

The top of the table clash lived up to the hype on the weekend, and the game many are calling a grand final preview was as you would expect from the competition’s first and second sides. In the end the Hunters made it a double against the Blackhawks, but only after surviving a great comeback.

Around the grounds, Redcliffe continued their march to a finals spot with a win over rivals Mackay, and Ipswich took advantage of Wynnum’s loss to Tweed Heads to jump them into third. Easts continued their great form whilst Central continued their winless streak, and Burleigh put some horror losses behind them with a much needed win on the Gold Coast.

Here’s how the teams stand.

Townsville Blackhawks 33pts F/A +428, PNG Hunters 33 +168, Ipswich Jets 30 +184,
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28 +169, Easts Tigers 26 +201, Mackay Cutters  24 +84, Northern Pride 24  +24, Redcliffe Dolphins 21 +91, Burleigh Bears 20 -221, Tweed Heads Seagulls 17 -39, Souths Logan Magpies 15 -132, Sunshine Coast Falcons 15 -165, Norths Devils 10 -334, CQ Capras 6 -458

 

IPSWICH JETS 36 def NORTHS DEVILS 22 @ North Ipswich Reserve (H/T 14-10)

The Intrust Super Cup weekend kicked off in a familiar location and time on Saturday as the Jets took on the Norths Devils, and the result was as expected with a Jets win over Norths who are sitting second last, but the Devils belied recent form and ladder position and pushed the Jets all the way.

It looked like business as usual as the Jets scored on their first set, and Chris Walker gave the Courier Mail their headline for the weekend by opening the scoring. But it wasn’t to be the steamrolling some were expecting, and Norths took a surprise lead 6-4 before the Jets put on another two tries to lead 14-6 halfway through the first half. Only one more try came in the next 20 minutes and it was to the visitors who trailed by only 4 at the break, and there was a sniff of an upset.

Ipswich got out to a start similar to the first half as they scored not long after the second half kick off, but once again were pegged back by the Devils. That pattern happened again and with 8 minutes to go the score was 30-22 to the Jets, and the Devils were still in the game. Unfortunately for Norths the last try of the game went to Ipswich, and a good performance against quality opposition goes unrewarded.

The reward for Ipswich next week is the weekend off, which will give them plenty of time to attend the V8 race just down the road, Norths meanwhile have their biggest game of the year as they play Central Capras, and a win will just about assure them of avoiding the wooden spoon. A loss will have them looking over the shoulder.

 

REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 40 def MAKCAY CUTTERS 18 @ Dolphin Oval (H/T 24-6)

Redcliffe showed their finals ambitions and credentials in front of a healthy crowd and TV cameras on Sunday afternoon as they comfortably beat a top 6 rival in Mackay.

The Dolphins played with flair and confidence of a side on a good winning run, and the first half was all about them as they raced out to a 24-0 lead before Mackay scored just before half time to make it 24-6. It could have been worse for the Cutters if some of the passes had of stuck.

It was more of the same in the second half with five more tries, this time being shared around a little more fair as Redcliffe scored three to Mackay’s two, but the game was always in Redcliffe’s control as they led by 18 at minimum and by 22 points at full time. By which time they had stamped themselves as a genuine finals contender.

The Dolphins get another chance to enhance that finals bid against quality opposition when they head to Wynnum next weekend, and added bonus will be revenge for an earlier home loss. Mackay meanwhile head to Tweed Heads.

 

PNG HUNTERS 28 def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAKWS 26 @ Kalabond Oval (H/T 18-12)

The top of the table clash in Kokpo didn’t disappoint casual viewers or the local fans as the PNG Hunters took their second win against the Blackhawks this season to prove they are capable of winning this competition, and that the previously invincible Townsville side are beatable.

Like their clash a few months back, there was absolutely nothing in it at the end, and many are calling this a grand final preview, and if so, it will be value for money for punters on Grand Final day.

It was the home side who started the better as they ran out to a 12-0 lead before a 19th minute try to the Blackhawks reduced that gap to just 6 and then drew level not long after. The final say of the half went to the Hunters and they held a n 18-12 half time lead.

The PNG side jumped out of the blocks in the second half with two tries and a 28-12 lead they would have been confident of holding onto despite plenty of time left in the match. That plenty of time seemed too long as Townsville scored three tries from the 58th minute to the 70th to draw within 2 points of the lead with 10 to go. Had it been for more successful conversion kicking, the Blackhawks could have been in front.

Those missed conversions did end up costing Townsville as they the gap remained 2 points and the PNG Hunters drew level with Townsville on top of the ladder. Although with a bye and a for an against over 200 points better than the next best team, they are effectively still well ahead of the field.

Townsville get the bye next round, whilst the PNG Hunters welcome another top side in form as the Tigers come to town.

 

EASTS TIGERS 56 def CENTRAL CAPRAS 22 @ Browne Park (H/T 24-12)

Once again the Central Capras pushed a top side in the first half as they led 12-0 after 7 minutes against an Easts side in tremendous form. Unfortunately though, the bottom placed side who are winless since Round 1, weren’t able to maintain that great start and it was all Tigers from that point on.

Easts Tigers proved their attacking credentials by putting on the next eleven tries of the game, four of them in the remaining first half minutes to lead 24-12 at the break. They also proved their relentless ability to punish the lower ranked sides with seven second half tries to break the half century for the second time against Central this year. Central got the very definition of a consolation try just before full time.

The Capras now have their most important game of the year next weekend against Norths, and they might have more luck holding onto those first half leads against a side low on confidence and wins. Easts have the competition’s toughest away trip, as they attempt to break the Hunters unbeaten home record in PNG.

 

BURLEIGH BEARS 18 def SOUTHS LOGAN 14 @ Pizzey Park (H/T SL 8-0)

Burleigh put a terrible run of results behind them on Sunday and took a much needed win for their morale and race for finals contention. Despite being handed four thrashings in a row, the Bears remain just four points from sixth place.

A win looked a little unlikely as the Bears were down 8-0 at half time to a Souths Logan side high on confidence after an upset win over the Pride and a comeback from 28-4 down to draw with Norths last weekend.

But Burleigh persevered and showed some of the quality that brought them the last minute win over Wynnum before their horror run with the next three tries after half time to lead 18-8 and despite a late Magpies try, the home side held on for the morale boosting win.

Both of these sides meet teams with the bye this weekend next round. The Bears are on the road to Cairns next weekend to face the Pride and Souths Logan look to make amends against the Sunshine Coast.

 

TWEED HEADS 30 WYNNUM MANLY 16 @ Piggabeen (H/T 12-10)

The upset of the weekend’s games came in the last game of the round at Piggabeen as the Seagulls of Tweed Heads beat the Seagulls of Wynnum Manly.

Tweed Heads were looking for revenge in the season’s first edition of the battle of the Seagulls, and they got what they were looking for with a comfortable win in the end after a tight first half. Wynnum were the first to score in the game, but two tries from Tweed – including one to Titan’s discard Dave Taylor – gave them a lead of 12-4. This was shaved to two points at the break by a Wynnum try.

The second half was nearly all about the Tweed Heads as they scored three tries in a row from the break to lead 30-10, and a final try from Wynnum with a few minutes to go wasn’t enough to spoil Tweed’s day.

Seagulls bragging rights are shared for 2015, and the Tweed based side welcome Mackay next weekend, and the Wynnum side welcome Redcliffe for another big battle.

 

ROUND 20 IN DETAIL

 

IPSWICH 36
Tries: Marmin Barba 2, Brandon McGrady 2, Chris Walker, Josh Cleeland, Billy McConnachie Goals: Haydan Lipp 3, Chris Walker
NORTHS 22
Tries: Michael Lucas, Byron Creighton, Krys Freeman, Luke Pollock
Goals: Liam Tyson 3

REDCLIFFE 40
Tries: Josh Beehag, Tom Opacic, John Brady, Darcy Etrich, Nick Ritter, Harley Aiono, Aaron Whitchurch Goals: Luke Capewell 6
MACKAY 18
Tries: Josh Chudleigh 2, Aleki Falepaini
Goals: Liam Taylor 3

BURLEIGH 18
Tries: Talor Walters, Dimitri Pelo, Josh Ailaomai
Goals: Talor Walters 3
SOUTHS LOGAN 14
Tries: Ihaka Watene, Scott Doyle
Goals: Scott Doyle 3

EASTS 56
Tries: Shane Neumann 2, Brandon Downey 2, Tommy Butterfield 2, Donald Malone, Maeli Seve, Shaun Nona, Jake Foster|
Goals: Shaun Nona 8
CENTRAL 22
Tries: Tarrant Mariner, Matt Minto, Josh Johnston, Rajan Opetaia-Halls
Goals: Matt Minto 3

PNG HUNTERS 28
Tries: Stargroth Amean, Noel Zeming, Adex Wera, Israel Eliab, Ase Boas
Goals: Noel Zeming 4
TOWNSVILLE 26
Tries: Zac Santo, Michael Parker-Walshe, Daniel Beasley, Kelepi Tanginoa, Neville Costigan
Goals: Kyle Feldt 3

TWEED HEADS 30
Tries: Dave Taylor 2, Ali Grant, Nathanael Barnes, Shaun Carney
Goals: Blake Anderson 4, Ali Grant
WYNNUM 16
Tries: Peter Gubb, Mitchell Buckett, Mitchell Lollback
Goals: Patrick Templeman 2

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