Round 15 saw a new leader of the Intrust Super Cup competition. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Townsville Blackhawks has been replaced at the top of the table. In a weekend of a few surprises the Blackhawks were beaten by last year’s Grand Final foes Ipswich.
Burleigh Bears are now the outright leaders of the competition after Townsville’s loss and their win over Tweed Heads, and the Blackhawks have dropped as low as fourth as the Hunters won and the Dolphins received two points from the bye.
Elsewhere Craig Ingebrigtsen, who swapped from Easts to the Sunshine Coast in the off season, oversaw the Falcons reversing the first meeting of the year against the Tigers, and closed within 2 points of fifth placed Easts.
Northern Pride kept within one point of the last finals place with a tight win over Mackay. Further below the competition gets very tight as eighth placed Souths Logan and second last Tweed Heads are within two points. Ipswich Jets and Norths Devils moving up the ladder after wins on the road in Townsville and Bundaberg against the Capras.
Find out more with the match by match review of Round 15 in the Intrust Super Cup.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 26 Easts Tigers 6
Townsville Blackhawks 12 IPSWICH JETS 24
Mackay Cutters 18 NORTHERN PRIDE 22
NORTHS DEVILS 40 Central Capras 24
Tweed Heads Seagulls 4 BURLEIGH BEARS 36
PNG HUNTERS 18 Wynnum Seagulls 4
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 26 Easts Tigers 6
JETS SURPRISE WIN OVER BLACKHAWKS
by Dan White
Ipswich and Townsville have had an interesting relationship in recent history. In round two it was the Blackhawks who exposed some of the issues the newly reconstructed Jets were having after losing 6 players in the off season. The Jets returned the favour as they were the better side on Saturday afternoon and exposed some cracks in the Blackhawks. The defensive efforts of the outside backs were not enough as the Jets scored three wide tries and the offense looked like they were still in the Ice baths recovering from the week before.
The Jets included Michael Purcell and bumped Sebastian Pandia to the bench in what would prove to be an inspired shuffle by the Walker Boys. After the two centres each scored in the first half, it was Purcell that grabbed his double in the second and took the points away from one of the toughest venues for visitors in the league.
Kristian Wolfe has his job set out for the week as they look to try and regain the early season form, and get the combinations working at the level they should be at. The core of the spine worked hard, but still seem to be out of sync with each other as a number of raids fell short and options were missed. Dropped ball and disciple that gifted four points from penalties are coach killer sin tight matches, and that is what was the real difference between the two sides.
The Jets have the weekend off while the Blackhawks remain at home to face up to the in-form SC Falcons who knocked over Easts. No easy games for any team in the league at the moment and the Blackhawks will be looking forward to their first bye when week 18 comes around.
PRIDE RUN DOWN CUTTERS
by Dan White
Mackay was out of the blocks with a bold first half statement that had them in the sheds at half time with a 12 point to nil lead. Tries to Atherton and Creith were exactly what the upset required if the basement dwellers were going to begin a climb off the bottom of the table. Excellent kicking from Taylor and solid defence had the home crowd hoping for the second win of the season.
The Pride had let a number of matches go in recent weeks and it was clear that even though they were trailing, they were not going to leave anything on the paddock at the end of the second half. Ryan Ghietti finished of the first break by the Pride in the second half and less than two minutes later the scores were tied up as Wilkie crossed. Joss Boyton then regained the lead for the Cutters and again the boot of Liam Taylor was good and the margin back out to 6 for the home side.
Both sides had lost a number of games by small margins this season with the Cutters falling short by less than 6 a number of times and with 10 on the clock, the locals would have been very nervous. The Pride crossed out wide on the 72-minute mark and the locals hopes were raised as the kick was waved away. It was Ryan Ghietti who completed his double in the dying minutes as the Pride summed up the Cutter season with a knife twisting lead changer, the boot of Khan Ahwang moved the margin out to 4. The last desperate attempt by the Cutters was left on the turf and the siren ended a tough tight game with more misery for the hosts.
Next week, the Pride head down to Easts and Mackay heads down to the Dolphins.
DEVILS TOO GOOD FOR CAPRAS
by Dan White
The Devils took their game to Bundaberg and they did not leave it on the bus as they burst out of the gate with a try on the three-minute mark. The Capras were still gathering their breath from this when five-minutes later the Devils were in again. It what was to be a nightmare first half for the visitors, the Devils would cross in the 14th, 17th, 21st, 35th and 40th minutes to have a dominant lead of 36 nil at half time.
When you are on the end of a touch up, the best thing to do is try and win the second half. The Capras came out from the break with this attitude and it would have improved the coach’s mood no end when Cooper finally got the Capras on the board after 46 minutes. A second ten minutes later raised some hopes, but then David Faamita stemmed the minor bleeding with a bustling effort that took the Devils out to 40 points. It was enough and even two late tries for the Capras may have helped the margin, the bruising damage from the first half will be hard to erase. The Capras outscored the Devils 24-4 in the second half, but the margin was too great and the Devils were home.
Next week sees the Capras head home to host the new ladder leaders in the Burleigh Bears and the Devils will head to their real home to host the PNG Hunters.
BURLEIGH LEAD THE COMPETITION AFTER A SOAKING GOLD COAST DERBY WIN
by Shannon Meyer
Townsville’s surprise loss in the Grand Final rematch to Ipswich on Saturday night opened the door for Burleigh to take the lead of the competition outright, and the Bears certainly took the opportunity with not only the two points, but a performance that will have the rest of the competition on notice.
The turnaround from the side who missed the finals in 2015, and were thrashed in the only meeting of the two Gold Coast sides in 2015 has been marked, and the extremely wet conditions on offer at Piggabeen didn’t slow their progress as genuine title contenders in 2016, in fact the conditions highlighted their strengths.
Burleigh Bears put on a masterclass and opened the scoring in the 3rd minute through off season Wests Tigers recruit Kurtis Rowe, and added another three tries before half time gave the Bears a lead that would be hard to chase down in the worsening conditions. Tweed Heads were unlikely to chase down the 24-0 half time deficit in any conditions, but as the rain got worse they had to settle for a solitary consolation try with a handful of minutes left after Burleigh had scored another two tries to dominate the Gold Coast derby for the second time in 2016.
Burleigh attempt to defend the competition lead in Rockhampton next weekend, and Tweed Heads take on the Magpies on a hopefully drier Piggabeen.
HUNTERS TAKE OUT LOW SCORING BATTLE FOR A HAT TRICK OF HOME WINS
by Shannon Meyer
The PNG Hunters secured their third straight win, all in Port Moresby to overcome the mid-season blip after the international break had slowed their progress. Their record at home, undefeated in Port Moresby and undefeated in PNG for two years is a daunting one, and one the out of form Wynnum Seagulls weren’t able to change this weekend.
In a game where all but two points were scored in the first half, the Hunters three tries to one in the first 40 minutes were enough to earn the two points and move them into third position on the ladder after taking advantage of the Blackhawks surprise loss at home.
They need to carry that form on the road as they have two fixtures away from home in a row over the next two round before they collect their second allocation of bye points for 2016.
Wynnum Seagulls have now lost three in a row, and have slipped to third last after they threatened the top six after a run of five straight wins before the latest losing streak.
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||14||7||1||6||1||275||270||5||17|
|Souths Logan Magpies||14||5||2||7||1||337||356||-19||14|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||14||5||0||9||1||316||361||-45||12|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||14||5||0||9||1||257||394||-137||12|