The Intrust Super Cup Round 24 has been completed, and the big news is that the PNG Hunters are the 2017 minor premiers after battling hard to beat the Wynnum Seagulls in Port Moresby. They have a three point lead with a round to go, and can’t be caught by second placed Redcliffe Dolphins on the last weekend. They also the only home side to win this weekend.
It is a wonderful achievement from the PNG side, but the hard work is ahead as they need to turn around their 0 – 3 finals record to feature on Grand Final Day, and who knows from there.
Elsewhere around Round 24 were some interesting battles down the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
Mackay got the better of Ipswich in the battle for seventh place and best of the rest. And the battle for the wooden spoon goes into the final weekend after Souths Logan thrashed the second last placed Central Capras, and Tweed Heads threw away the chance to overtake them after two late tries from the Northern Pride saw them lose 18-16.
A short run down of all the games is below.
IPSWICH JETS 20 MACKAY CUTTERS 30
Mackay Cutters took the upper hand in the battle for the Best of the Rest prize for seventh place by beating the former occupant Ipswich and jumping ahead of the Jets with one round to go.
In a game where the lead changed several times, it was anyone’s game until the Cutters got the crucial try with three minutes to go to run out five tries to three winners.
The Jets led early courtesy of a converted try and penalty goal, but the Cutters hit back with two tries in four minutes to grab the lead off the Jets and take a 12-8 lead to the break.
Mackay scored first after the break to extend the lead, but it was Ipswich’s turn to put two quick tries on to snatch the lead back. Their lead lasted just four minutes as the Cutters went back in front to lead 24-20 until that 77th minute try sealed the game.
Ipswich head west next weekend to Gatton to take on the Capras, Mackay have the much harder game at home to Souths Logan.
MACKAY CUTTERS 30
Tries: Bennett Leslie (20m), Yamba Bowie (24m), Andrew Davey (51m), Nicho Hynes (67m), Kouma Samson (77m)
Goals: Jack Joass 5/5 Conv
IPSWICH JETS 20
Tries: Marion Seve (14m), Michael Purcell (57m), Julian Christian (63m)
Goals: Jayden Connors 3/3 Conv, 1 Pen
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 16 NORTHERN PRIDE 18
The Tweed Heads Seagulls missed out on a golden chance to move off the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup ladder after they succumbed to a late Pride fightback.
The Seagulls had still led 16-6 with ten minutes to go, but tries to the Northern Pride in the 71st and 75th minutes saw them overtake the Seagulls and keep them on the bottom on the ladder heading into the last round next weekend.
It looked to be a different outcome as the Tweed scored first and turned on the style with a cracking first try courtesy of the McGrady brothers. Nephews of former Bulldogs star and Rothman’s Medal winner Ewan McGrady.
Northern Pride hit back ten minutes later and took a 6-4 lead to the break. The successful conversion against the missed first attempt for the Seagulls would also come back to haunt them later.
It looked like they didn’t need to rely on goal kicking as Brayden McGrady secured his double just after the break with a neat chip and chase and Jayden Baker crossed ten minutes later to retake the lead and stretch it to 16-6 and the Tweed looked they were going to run away with it.
For all Tweed’s possession and territory it mattered little when Pride speedstar Gideon Gela-Mosby intercepts and runs 80 metres to find Shawn Bowen to score under the posts to reduce the gap to four points in the 71st minute. And the final heartbreak for the Seagulls came in the 75th minute when a bit of soccer work from the Pride halfback ended in Col Wilkie beating everyone to the ball and scoring the match winner.
Tweed Heads get one more chance next weekend to avoid last, and have no less an opponent than the recently crowned minor premiers PNG Hunters at home. They have already beaten them in Port Moresby and have a 2/2 record against ladder leaders this season. You can’t rule them out doing it. The Pride’s game isn’t much easier as they welcome second placed Redcliffe in Cairns.
NORTHERN PRIDE 18
Tries: Bradley Stephen (30m), Shawn Bowen (71m), Col Wilkie (75m)
Goals: Jordan Biondi-Odo 3/3 Conv
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 16
Tries: Brayden McGrady (20m), Brayden McGrady (42m), Jayden Baker (53m)
Goals: Lindon McGrady 2/3 Conv
CENTRAL CAPRAS 10 SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 52
Souths Logan overcame their thrashing at the hands of the Easts Tigers last weekend by handing out the same treatment to the luckless Central Capras in Rockhampton on Sunday.
The loss for the Capras made it double figures for consecutive losses, and they almost took the wooden spoon position on the ladder except for the late Pride fight back at Piggabeen.
In all the Magpies scored nine tries to two, and showed no mercy for the struggling Capras as they charge into the final week of the competition with a chance to get as high as fourth.
It was all one way traffic for the Magpies, as the scores were tied on 6-6 up to the 19th minute as both sides got a try each. But once Souths Logan crossed for their second, the floodgates opened, and the Magpies ran in another two tries before the break to lead 24-6.
The second half got even uglier for the Capras as Souths Logan ran in five more tries at regular intervals, with Sam Scarlett and Paul Rokolati both completing doubles in the last ten minutes. The Capras added a second try in the 65th minute to regular scorer Ken Tofilau, but the game had been lost well before then.
Central can guarantee avoiding the wooden spoon by beating Ipswich in Gatton next weekend. Souths Logan have a tricky fixture to the in form Cutters in Mackay.
SOUTHS LOGAN 52
Tries: Sam Scarlett (5m), Matt Minto (19m), Jack Anderson (25m), Lenny Magey (30m), Paul Roolati (48m), Sam Lavea (53m), Brendon Gibb (58m), Sam Scarlett (70m), Paul Rokolati (78m)
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 8/9 Conv
CENTRAL CAPRAS 10
Tries: Luke George (13m), Ken Tofilau (65m)
Goals: Cody Grills 1/2 Conv
PNG HUNTERS 28 WYNNUM SEAGULLS 22
The PNG Hunters have taken out the 2017 Minor Premiership with a week to spare after beating the Wynnum Seagulls at home 28-22, but not after doing it the hard way.
The Hunters had to come from behind twice against the Seagulls, and once again from a deadlock after Wynnum had equalised halfway through the second half. Two tries in five minutes from the 63rd minute proved the pivotal period for the Hunters as they 28-16 lead was enough to see off a late Seagulls try, coincidentally from PNG international David Mead in the 71st minute. The Hunters held on, and with it confirmed they will finish the season first.
PNG let the Seagulls lead twice during the first half as Wynnum scored in the 7th minute, and replied to Stargroth Amean’s first of the day in the 13th minute with David Mead’s first of the day just before half time.
Israel Eliab continued his rich recent try scoring form with a try just after half time to lock the scores up at 10-10, and they took the lead for the second time when Nixon Putt crossed 9 minutes later. The Seagulls captain Mitch Frei crossed in the 59th minute to lock the scores up at 16-16. The previously mentioned quick two try burst from the Hunters followed which was enough to give them the win, and with it the minor premiership. A tremendous effort in their fourth season in the competition.
They can end the season on a high note next weekend against Tweed Heads, but face a team that has already beaten them at Port Moresby and has an appetite for beating ladder leaders and is in a battle to avoid last. Wynnum meanwhile are in solid midfield and end their season at Bishop Park next Sunday in the last game of the regular season.
PNG HUNTERS 28
Tries: Stargroth Amean (13m), Israel Eliab (43m), Nixon Putt (52m), Stargroth Amean (63m), Ase Boas (68m)
Goals: Ase Boas 4/5 Conv
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 22
Tries: Paora Kemp (7m), David Mead (35m), Mitch Frei (59m), David Mead (71m)
Goals: Shaun Nona 3/4 Conv