Round 19 concluded with some of the questions answered in relation to this year’s competition, with the main one being the likely minor premiers – which looks more like Burleigh’s for the taking after a win against the Blackhawks in Townsville on Saturday night.
Not all questions were answered though, like who the most likely challenger to the Bears will be, as there was nothing in their clash with Townsville or between the Dolphins and Hunters on Sunday. Redcliffe take temporary advantage in second after defeating the Hunters.
The other question of the remaining finals spot was unlikely to be answered given how close it was heading into Round 19, but some regular finals inhabitants have now moved into the prime position as premiers Ipswich thrashed Mackay and Wynnum also beat the Pride easily.
In fact it was bad weekend for the Pride as they dropped from sixth to tenth after Souths Logan surprised the Tigers and Sunshine Coast beat Norths at Bishop Park. All five teams are covered by just two points, and with the Tigers loss have got within 4 points of fifth.
The other game saw Tweed leapfrog their opponent Central, and both remain mathematical chances of the finals, although unlikely.
Norths Devils 12 SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 26
Townsville Blackhawks 20 BURLEIGH BEARS 26
IPSWICH JETS 38 Mackay Cutters 6
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 28 Northern Pride 8
Central Capras 16 TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 18
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 24 PNG Hunters 20
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 20 Easts Tigers 10
SUNSHINE COAST STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE SIXTH SPOT BATTLE
by Shannon Meyer
A dominant second half display from the Falcons earned two points and the upper hand in the battle between the two sides as they both chase the vital sixth and last place in the finals race.
Sunshine Coast trailed 12-10 at the break, but four tries to nil second forty minutes sealed a win which may have looked more flattering if more than one of their 6 tries in total were converted.
The inability to add the two points has cost the Falcons some more favourable results so far in 2016, and it looked like that could be another possibility as the Devils matched the Sunshine Coast’s two tries, but were able to convert both.
Norths will rue being outplayed in the second half as a win would have put them on equal points as the Sunshine Coast. As it stands they are now four points from the Falcons and one further from the three teams on 20 points in sixth.
BEARS EXTEND LEAD WITH WIN OVER BLACKHAWKS
by Dan White
With three minutes’ left on the clock, this game was anyone’s. A twenty all score-line and with the Blackhawks pressing constantly, the local crowd was primed for a result. A result was achieved but not what the locals were after as Prop Luke Page for the Bears barged over for the Bears first victory over the Blackhawks. Heartbreak for the locals and validation for the Bears claims as they sit on top of the table and are now three points clear when it really matters.
In a tough match, the Blackhawks started well and had put on two tries before the Bears started to pay attention. In the final four minutes of the first half, the Blackhawks let their lead slip as the Bears crossed twice and then let in a third within four from the break. The Bears were up 18-10 and the Blackhawks knew they needed to start something happening. That something was Moses Pangai who crossed for two second half tries that gave the locals a two-point lead with fifteen minutes to go.
A penalty to the Bears was converted by the Bears and the scores were level. The Page tried sealed the victory and opened up the Blackhawks to some questions. Jahrome Hughes (who was named but did not play due to an ongoing back injury) was missed, but the team has now lost a number of games when they have had a real opportunity to win and this is not a good habit to have. Coach Wolfe will need to shake something up to turn the season around as the Blackhawks are falling into the reach of those in sixth position.
The Bears will host the Jets in what may help decide the Jets season and the Blackhawks head out to the Isa and face up to the Capras, desperate to regain the early season form and put some confidence back for a charge to the finals.
JETS CONTINUE MARCH TOWARDS FINALS WITH BIG WIN
by Dan White
After weeks of coming close, the Cutters headed south to face up to an inform Jets side. It was unfortunate that they chose to put in their worse performance in some wet conditions that were definitely not repeated by the Jets.
A first half hat-trick to Michael Purcell were in the books well before the Cutters even made an entry as the winger almost double his tally for the season as he chased down every opportunity and displayed skills that mocked the conditions. The game was out of the Cutters reach by half time, with the Jets happy to enter the sheds with a 22-0 lead, and the scoring was not finished. Purcell added one more and Conlon added to his season total as well as pushing 5 from 7 through the uprights for a personal haul of 14 points for the match.
Ultimately the Cutters crossed the line but even this celebration was muted as the Jets crossed for a final try to push the final score out.
The Jets will be hosted by the Burleigh Bears next week, but the game is out in Charleville due to country week. The Cutters are off to Moranbah to face up to Wynnum Manly, with the Seagulls being one of the sides occupying the same points as the sixth position Jets and will be desperate to maintain contact.
WYNNUM IMPORTANT WIN OVER PRIDE
by Dan White
Three tries and two penalties put 22 points on the board for Wynnum Manly by the break as the Pride was kept scoreless as the second of the north of Brisbane region teams was held to nil for the first stanza. Wynnum Manly have kept pace on the final slot in the finals and this was yet another performance that kept them in touch. They need to keep on scoring as they have the worst margin of the three competitors and so winning may not be enough.
The Pride on the other hand, were hoping to do what the Seagulls did, and with the final margin costing them 20 points and they are now 2 points outside the finals and in eighth on the ladder and heading in the wrong direction.
This game was one-way traffic for the first half, the second was more of an arm wrestle with two quick tries to the Pride but then the Seagulls were soon back in line and held them out for the remainder of the match.
Wynnum Manly will head out to Moranbah to face off against the Cutters and the Pride will be almost the locals as they head to Ravenshoe and face off against the Redcliffe Dolphins as the stakes are raised and the pressure mounts.
TWEED MOVE AHEAD OF CAPRAS AFTER WIN
by Dan White
The Capras learned one of football’s toughest lessons when they failed to play out the full eighty minutes and lost this game after leading by 10 point after 28 minutes. The 16-6 half time score may have dealt them some false confidence and this was quickly eliminated after Folau and Grant and the safe boot of Burgess gave the lead to the Seagulls as they ended up locking in the final score with still 25 minutes’ left on the clock.
The Seagulls leapfrogged the inconsistent Capras on the scoreboard and the league table as they assisted the clean sweep of the Northern sides and shuffled the deck as we get into the last six weeks of the season.
For Country week we see Tweed heads facing off to the SC Falcons in Gympie as the Capras head out to Mount Isa to face off against the Blackhawks who will be desperate.
DOLPHINS CHRISTEN NEW GRANDSTAND WITH BREAKTHROUGH WIN OVER HUNTERS
by Shannon Meyer
The new Grandstand covering the western side of Dolphin Oval complete with seats was unveiled on Sunday afternoon to a very healthy and enthusiastic crowd. As ever for a Redcliffe-PNG Hunters clash at Dolphin Oval.
The Dolphins-Hunters are always closely fought clashes, and Sunday’s match was no different, as the 2nd and 3rd placed teams of the intrust Super Cup ladder battled to remain Burleigh closest chaser after their win the night before.
Redcliffe has the momentum early, with an early try after 7 minutes, and although they scored another one four minutes from half time to lead 12-0, the Hunters had awoken and started to look lively.
That extra spark turned into points as the Hunters charged into the lead with tries just before and after half time, and a runaway try to Justin Olam in the 53rd minute to lead 18-12.
An error led to that Hunters try, and it was the theme of the match but especially the second half as mistakes stopped many a promising attack. A 66th penalty goal to PNG gave them an 8 point gap to hold onto.
Matches are always tight between Redcliffe and PNG, with no match margin greater than 7 points since 2014, and that statistic looked safe when Daniel Bridge crashed over next to the posts with 6 minutes to go to set up a (new) grandstand finish.
In a pulsating finish, Christian Hazard sealed Redcliffe’s first ever win over PNG with a try under the posts after a fine inside ball left a sizeable gap for the Redcliffe interchange player to score.
Despite the errors, it was a great atmosphere at the revamped Dolphin Oval, and when the northern section is finished, it will be arguably the finest ground in the Intrust Super Cup. Good enough to be a backup venue for the Grand Final.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 20 Easts Tigers 10
|Souths Logan Magpies||18||8||2||8||1||461||444||17||20|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||17||8||0||9||2||391||405||-14||20|
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||18||8||1||9||1||339||358||-19||19|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||17||6||0||11||2||315||498||-183||16|