Time for the Best of the Intrust Super Cup Round 16, the reverse fixtures of the season’s earlier Rivalry Round, with big games from Port Moresby down to the Gold Coast.
It was a weekend where the Burleigh Bears retook the competition lead as they beat their fellow Gold Coast side Tweed Heads, and previous leaders lost their Far North Queensland rivalry clash with the Northern Pride.
The competition now has split into three groups, the top four covered by two points and four points ahead of the pack, that midfield featuring 5th to 11th covered by just two points, and the rest of the teams looking to be out of finals calculations at least another four points behind.
The best bits of Intrust Super Cup 16 is below, so read on.
THE LEAD SWAPS AGAIN AT THE TOP OF THE INTRUST SUPER CUP
Townsville Blackhawks stole the competition lead off the Burleigh Bears after Round 15. But the Bears returned the favour after the Blackhawks left the door open on Saturday night by going down to the Northern Pride 13-10. Townsville took the lead early in Cairns, and drew level in the second half after the Pride had scored twice in the first half to lead 10-6 at the break. A late 76th minute field goal, and an even later penalty goal proved the difference. The match featured Cowboys regulars Justin O’Neill (Townsville) and Ethan Lowe (Pride).
Burleigh duly took advantage of the gift, but not before going down 16-0 early in their Gold Coast rivalry clash against the in form Tweed Heads Seagulls. The Bears went on to score 34 unanswered point, starting with their first points in just the 37th minute. Four second half tries sealed the 34-16 victory over the Seagulls.
The Pride’s win was their second win over Townsville this season, and their five game winning streak means they could very well take the lead of the competition next weekend if results fall their way.
A TRIPLE TREAT FROM THE KANGAROO CATCHER NOT ENOUGH FOR IPSWICH AGAINST TIGERS
The Jets-Tigers TV game on Saturday always looked likely to entertain, and it certainly didn’t disappoint as the Tigers held on from a fast finishing Ipswich,
Ultimately two second half penalty goals proved the difference after both sides scored four tries a piece, all of the Tigers tries coming in the first half where they led 22-12 at the break.
Michael Purcell, known as the Kangaroo Catcher, is possibly the smallest person playing rugby league in Australia, but his speed and skills are hard to beat and both were on display against, as his hat trick got Ipswich close in the second half but not quite enough. He always looked dangerous for the Jets, and on the flip side Billy Walters and Scott Drinkwater were both excellent for the Tigers, both scoring cheeky tries with quick taps. With the Storm due to have their Origin affected game, the timing couldn’t be better from either.
The result sees Easts and Ipswich shuffle to the top and bottom of the pack of teams on 16 points, just two shy of the Top 6 now.
A final thought, as always when watching Ipswich, is why other rugby league team don’t copy the short kick off. Of course it doesn’t always pay off, but at around 50% it is significantly higher than 0.5% return from a standard kickoff blast downtown.
DOLPHINS DEFEAT WYNNUM TO SEAL HERALD CUP FOR BAYSIDE’S BEST FOR 2018
Redcliffe celebrated the opening of their new stand on the eastern side of the ground with a big win over their bayside rivals, which gives them a second win over Wynnum for the year and the Herald Cup trophy for the games between the two sides.
The scoreline blew out a bit at the end, with Redcliffe scoring three tries in the last ten minutes, as Wynnum traded tries with Redcliffe in the second half to keep the gap to 16 points at best after trailing 22-6 at the break. The Seagulls did score first too and quite early in the 3rd minute, but the Dolphins took over with their first try in the 15th minute and skipped away for the rest of the afternoon. In the end there were doubles to Donovan, Opacic and Staggs in the nine tries to three win.
The win for Redcliffe keeps them in the group of teams at the sharp end of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, and the competition’s best attacking team are ready to take top spot given other results in the upcoming rounds. Wynnum meanwhile are effectively out of the running for the finals being six points behind the top six places now.
PNG HUNTERS GET RIVALRY ROUND REVENGE IN PORT MORESBY
The PNG Hunters keep their finals hopes alive by getting revenge on the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Port Moresby, who easily defeated them on the Sunshine Coast earlier in the season. In fairness, the Falcons were only taking their own revenge after losing the Grand Final to the Hunters the previous September.
This match has developed into a nice rivalry despite the distance geographically between the two sides, with the Hunters more often than not getting the job done at home, but struggling to defeat the Falcons on the road. Not that the Falcons can’t win in PNG, they did knock the Hunters out of the finals in 2016 in Port Moresby.
Sunday’s game went the way of the Hunters, and featured two tries to arguably their most important player Ase Boas, who is on the comeback trail from a recent absence. Nixon Putt too continued his fine run of form from the Kumuls win over Fiji by grabbing the match winning try for himself in the 70th minute. The Falcons had earlier taken the lead after just two minutes, and were only down by 2 points at the 60 minute mark, before the Hunters skipped away thereafter.
The win sees the Hunters draw level on points with the Sunshine Coast, and are just two shy of the top six, but will need to improve their for and against, which may well decide finalists for September.
A missed conversion was the difference at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night as Norths defeated the Souths Logan Magpies 24-22 in a game where all but six points were scored in the first half. That’s now four losses in a row for the Magpies as they cling to a top six spot on points difference.
Central Capras condemned the Mackay Cutters to outright last on the ladder with a comfortable 20-6 win over their basement rivals on Saturday night. Capras winger bookended the match with a double.
INTRUST SUPER CUP ROUND 16 FULL RESULTS
Ipswich Jets 24 EASTS TIGERS 26
NORTHS DEVILS 24 Souths Logan Magpies
CENTRAL CAPRAS 20 Mackay Cutters 6
NORTHERN PRIDE 13 Townsville Blackhawks 10
BURLEIGH BEARS 34 Tweed Heads Seagulls 16
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 50 Wynnum Seaguls 18
PNG HUNTERS 24 Sunshine Coast Falcons 12