The final round of the Intrust Super Cup played out over the weekend, and the finals pieces of the 2017 finals puzzle and wooden spoon battle were put together.
The PNG Hunters remain Minor Premiers despite a second loss to the Tweed Heads Seagulls, and Redcliffe Dolphins join them in the top two after defeating the Northern Pride in Cairns.
The two Melbourne Storm feeder stable mates Easts and Sunshine Coast get home finals in week one, as they both took wins to secure home ground advantage.
Souths Logan Magpies won, but it wasn’t enough to lift them higher than fifth, and Townsville were the victims on the Sunshine Coast but remain sixth.
At the other end, the Tweed Heads second surprise win over the Hunters saw them leapfrog the Capras on the final weekend. Central not able to break an 11 game losing streak.
A short review of all the games is below and stand by for our finals guide this week.
IPSWICH JETS 44 CENTRAL CAPRAS 4
The Ipswich Jets ended their 2017 season in style and nabbed the best of the rest title for seventh as they comprehensively beat the Central 44-4 in the first Intrust Super Cup to be held in Gatton.
A triple from five eighth Julian Christian, an unlikely double to prop Nat Neale, and an always likely contribution from Michael Purcell amongst others saw the jets score an eight tries to one victory over Central which helped condemn them to the wooden spoon for 2017.
It was reasonably close for the majority of the first half, with the Jets scoring two minutes before half time to make it 18-4 at the break. The second half was a different story as Ipswich scored five unanswered tries at regular intervals to secure a final victory for the Jets for 2017, and hand the Capras an 11th straight loss.\
With the battle for last now out of the Capras hands, they had to sit back and await the result at Piggabeen on Sunday…
Who knows if Ipswich will have the Walker brothers at the helm next year with the vacant Titans coaching vacancy. The Gold Coast NRL could do much worse than inject a little life into the franchise with Ben and Shane Walker. Although you’d probably have to ask Jarryd Hayne first.
IPSWICH JETS 44
Tries: Nat Neale (7m), Josh Seage (15m), Michael Purcell (38m), Julian Christian (47m), Julian (55m), Nat Neale (64m), Julian Christian (70m), Marion Seve (76m)
Goals: Jayden Connors 6/8 Conv
CENTRAL CAPRAS 4
Tries: Chanel Seigafo (11m)
NORTHERN PRIDE 16 REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 40
Redcliffe Dolphins secured second place and a guaranteed second chance in the finals with a 40-16 win over the Northern Pride in Cairns on Saturday night.
It wasn’t all easy going for the Dolphins as the lead see-sawed throughout the first 50 minutes as the Pride took the lead, then the Dolphins replied three times. The Pride actually led at the half time break 16-12.
It was a two try burst in the 54th and 56th minute that saw Redcliffe finally skip away from the Pride to lead 24-16, and they confirmed the win with three quick tries in 5 minutes from the 74th minute. A period that saw Myles Taueli score his second try of the night, and Jonus Pearson score his third on the way to 24 personal points for the match.
Redcliffe finished second, missing out on the minor premiership by one competition point. A disappointing year for the 2014 Premiers is now over, and their 12th place finish is their lowest since their inception into the competition.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 40
Tries: Jonus Pearson (22m), Myles Taueli (30m), Jonus Pearson (54m), Matt Lodge (56m), Jonus Pearson (74m), Christian Hazard (77m), Myles Taueli (79m)
Goals: Jonus Pearson 6/7 Conv
NORTHERN PRIDE 16
Tries: Jack Campagnolo (14m), Gideon Gela-Mosby (26m), Marcus Jensen (35m)
Goals: Jordan Biondi-Odo 2/3 Conv
MACKAY CUTTERS 18 SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 32
Souths Logan Magpies temporarily held 4th place and a home final with a good away win in Mackay 32-18 over a Cutters side who were in reasonable form.
The Cutters went ahead first in the 12th minute, but the Magpies hit back not long after with two tries in three minutes and never looked back. They snuck in two more tries before half time, and held a comfortable 20-6 lead at the break.
Mackay threatened to get back into the game with the second half’s first try, but once again the Magpies had a quick two try burst in three minutes to extend the gap out to 32-12 and put the game out of reach of Mackay. There was time for a consolation try for Mackay, but nothing more and Souths Logan won 32-18.
With Sunshine Coast winning the next day, the Magpies had to settle for fifth place and an away fixtures in the first week of the finals. Hapily their away form is better than their home form in 2017 and have already beaten the Falcons on the coast this season. Mackay’s season ended in a solid 8th midfield finish.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 32
Tries: Lenny Magey (22m), Sam Scarlett (25m), Brendon Gibb (33m), Paul Rokolati (36m), Jordan Scott (53m), Jack Anderson (56m)
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 4/6Conv
MACKAY CUTTERS 18
Tries: Nathan Saumalu (12m), Nicho Hynes (49m), Daniel Boyd (65m)
Goals: Jack Joass 3/3 Conv
EASTS TIGERS 32 BURLEIGH BEARS 12
Easts finished off a great 2017 regular season with a good 32-12 win over a Burleigh Bears side who were one of the form teams of the last part of the season on Saturday evening. Their win wasn’t enough to give them a top two finish, as the Redcliffe Dolphins got the win they needed, but it was enough to leave them third after the regular season has ended, and they get to play at home in the first week of the finals against Townsville next weekend.
The home side got off to the best possible start with a try within two minutes to skipper Jake Foster, and they followed it up in the 18th minute to lead 12-0. The Bears hit back through the first of two tries to Jamal Fogarty in the 26th minute, but Easts hit straight back two minutes later to take a 16-6 lead to the break.
They extended that lead further not long after the break through Shane Neumann, two more tries within 9 minutes took the game away from Burleigh, who only had a consolation try in the 69th minute to show for their second half efforts. Once again to Jamal Fogarty who scored all 12 of the Bears points.
Easts will play knockout finals football now, but will have home advantage, which is a good thing as they have only been defeated twice there this season. Burleigh will rue a slow start to the season, but have plenty to build on for 2018.
EASTS TIGERS 32
Tries: Jake Foster (2m), Charlie Galo (18m), Conor Carey (28m), Shane Neumann (44m), Tommy Butterfield (49m), Jarrod McInally (53m)
Goals: Billy Walters 4/6 Conv
BURLEIGH BEARS 12
Tries: Jamal Fogarty (26m), Jamal Fogarty (69m)
Goals: Jamal Fogarty 2/2 Conv
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 42 TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16
The Sunshine Coast Falcons sealed a top 4 spot and a home final next weekend as they also delivered a message to the rest of the competition not to forget about them for the title with a dominant 42-16 win over Townsville Blackhawks in the only all top 6 clash of the weekend.
The Falcon’s form had been inconsistent over the last two months, and the win is timely to get them back on track where they will face the Souths Logan Magpies on the Sunshine Coast next weekend, a team that have already beaten them up there.
Sunshine Coast scored early and often, as it took them just three minutes to get on the board through PNG international Justin Olam. Townsville actually took the lead with their reply in the 9th minute, and it was some quick thinking by Michael Parker-Walshe who took a quick tap from a penalty and caught all the Falcons unawares from 20 metres out.
From there the first half was all Falcons as they scored another three tries and a penalty, and if not for better goal kicking would have been further ahead than the 20-6 half time score.
Townsville scored straight after half time to reduce the gap, but the Sunshine Coast put on two tries in two minutes to take control of the game, and they took it fully away from the Blackhawks not long after when they scored another two tries in three minutes in response to Townsville’s third of day.
There were no more points after the 62nd minute Falcons try, and both teams now turn their focus to knockout finals football. Sunshine Coast at home to the Souths Logan Magpies, Townsville head down to Suzuki Stadium to face Easts.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 42
Tries: Justin Olam (3m), Scott Drinkwater (16m), Alex Bishop (18m), Justin Olam (32m), Jahrome Hughes (45m), Tui Kamikamica (47m), Matthew Soper-Lawler (59m), Christopher Lewis (62m)
Goals: Scott Drinkwater 1 Conv, Guy Hamilton 3 Conv
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16
Tries: Michael Parker-Walshe (9m), Oshae Tuiasau (41m), Jonathon Reuben (53m)
Goals: Carlin Anderson 1 Conv, Kyle Laybutt 1 Conv
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 26 PNG HUNTERS 18
Tweed Heads Seagulls avoided the wooden spoon by defeating the minor premiers PNG Hunters for the second time this year, doing a very unlikely double over the competition leaders.
The Seagulls, who have been rooted to the bottom of the table for almost the entire season saved it until late to move off the bottom, but in the process have exposed one weakness in the Hunters that other sides may take advantage of. That being that the Hunters are not a very good side coming back from a deficit of 10 or more. Tweed Heads did it to them in Port Moresby earlier in the season, and the Hunters most recent prior defeat came at Redcliffe when the Dolphins blitzed them early and led 20-0 at half time.
Tweed Heads had all the running in the first half an hour as they crossed for three unanswered tries, and led 18-0 before the Hunter’s Ase Boas scored their first try of the match. A second to the increasingly superb Stargroth Amean tightened the score to 18-12 at half time.
The Seagulls were first to score after the break, and a further penalty gave them a 14 point lead, which given the collapse against the Pride last weekend would be keen not to repeat to avoid last. But avoid last they certainly did, as the Hunters scored just once more to get within 8 points of Tweed Heads.
Thankfully for the Hunters the Tweed Heads Seagulls aren’t in the finals, but perhaps you could see the loss coming given they had wrapped up the minor premiership last weekend and have bigger things on their mind.
Or maybe they are annoyed and distracted that none of their home finals will be televised to their fans around Queensland on Free to Air.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 26
Tries: Samuel Meskell (9m), Nicholas Harrold (18m), Jayden Baker (27m), Tristan Lumley (44m)
Goals: Lindon McGrady 4/4 Conv, 1 Pen
PNG HUNTERS 18
Tries: Ase Boas (33m), Stargroth Amean (38m), Wartovo Puara (62m)
Goals: Ase Boas 3/3 Conv
NORTHS DEVILS 30 WYNNUM SEAGULLS 16
Norths Devils finished their season with a win, and sent outgoing coach Mark Gliddon out a winner as they defeated the Wynnum Seagulls at home 30-16.
In a see-sawing first half, Wynnum got the scoring underway in the 9th minute, only for the Devils to score twice to snatch back the lead in the 26th minute. Wynnum’s next try in the 32nd minute was to Daniel Ogden, and not only did it even up the score but it gave the fullback the all time Intrust Super Cup try scoring record to himself. Good place to do it too, as he had played many years at Bishop Park as well as Wynnum.
The home side scored just before half time to lead 16-12, and it took until the 64th minute for the next points, which went to the Seagulls to raw level at 16-16. A Hayden Lipp penalty goals got the Devils back in front, and they signed off in style with tries in the 71st minute and on full time to run away 30-16 winners in the end.
Both sides will look to a better 2018, with neither serious finals contenders this year, and Norths will do it with new coach Rohan Smith at the helm. The former Titans assistant taking over from Mark Gliddon at Bishop Park.
NORTHS DEVILS 30
Tries: Todd Murphy (19m), Luke Pollock (26m), Dane Chang (37m), Delouise Hoeter (71m), Luke Pollock (80m)
Goals: Hayden Lipp 4/5 Conv, 1 Pen
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 16
Tries: Billy Solah (9m), Daniel Ogden (32m), Alex Barr (64m)
Goals: Shaun Nona 2/3 Conv