Intrust Super Cup Round 23, the second last round of the season, solved a few of the questions for the 2018 season, but happily has left more to answered in the final weekend of the season.
The minor premiership battle is down to two teams after Redcliffe and Burleigh won the two games between all of the top 4 sides.
Townsville lost again, but are guaranteed a home final, and either the Northern Pride and Easts Tigers are the other main chances, with the PNG Hunters the outsider. Ipswich hang on for finals after a big win over Tweed Heads, but Norths are now officially out of the running.
Mackay will finish bottom despite a breakthrough win, after the Central Capras also got a surprise win.
Here then is the best of Intrust Super Cup Round 23.
MINOR PREMIERSHIP BATTLE
REDCLIFFE IN POLE POSITION FOR MINOR PREMIERSHIP
Redcliffe came out on top from the weekend where all of the top four played each other, needing only to win or equalling Burleigh’s result next round to seal a minor premiership. Townsville can still beat Burleigh to second place and earn the first week of the finals off if they win and Burleigh don’t thanks to their huge for and against.
Redcliffe sit on top spot thanks to hard-earned victory against the Northern Pride in a low scoring affair in Cairns on Saturday night. They scored early in the fifth minute and again in the 31st to hold a 10-0 half time lead. The Pride responded in the 58th minute to make it 10-6, but Redcliffe had the final say with a try in the 70th minute.
Burleigh scored even earlier in their match against the Blackhawks, crossing after two minutes, but it was their only first half as Townsville hit back with tries in the 22nd and 34th minute to lead 12-4 at the break. But it was all Bears after the interval as they scored even earlier than the first half with a try a minute after the break. Two tries in five minutes saw them overtake the Blackhawks and enjoy the last ten minutes with a 10 point buffer.
How They Stand
1st Redcliffe – 33pts +189
2nd Burleigh – 32pts + 132
Who They Play Next
Redcliffe play Sunshine Coast (H)
Burleigh play Easts Tigers (A)
THE REST OF THE TOP SIX
HOME FINALS STILL UP FOR GRABS, IPSWICH HOPES ALIVE, DEVILS OUT
Easts Tigers stormed home against the Souths Logan Magpies in the second half and into the top four with a great come from behind win in a highly entertaining TV game on Saturday afternoon. A see-sawing first half saw the lead change a few times, and the Magpies took a 18-12 lead to the break. They extended that lead out to 34-18 after scoring a third second half try in the 56th minute. The Tigers though chipped away at the lead, scoring n the 62nd and 67th minutes, and sealed the game late with two minutes to go to surge in fourth. Sadly for the Magpies it continued a miserable run of results which has seen them drop from finals contention to lower midfield obscurity.
Ipswich thrashed Tweed Heads to temporarily jump ahead of the PNG Hunters on Saturday, with their three speedsters Marmin Barba, Wes Conlon and Michael Purcell all amongst the tries. The Jets put on 10 tries in all and the trio put on eight of them, along with Nat Neale continuing his try scoring feats. The Jets led 32-6 at the break, by which time Michael Purcell had already sealed a hat trick, and Wes Conlon and Marmin Barba one each. The second half saw Wes Conlon score another three tries, taking his tally to four for the day, sealing a big 52-16 win, which saw them into sixth, and importantly improved their for and against, which may be vital next week.
PNG Hunters responded to the Jets win by enjoying a sizeable win of their own against the Wynnum Seagulls in their final home game of the season. Their 40-16 win sent them back into the top six, with a 2 point cushion between them and the Ipswich Jets in seventh. The Hunters sixth win in a row featured eight tries in all, four in each half, with Wynnum adding a little more respectability to the scoreline with two tries in the final ten minutes. Hooker Wartovo Puara scored in the first minute, and fullback Edene Gebbie had a first half double, and the Hunters were 20-6 to the good at half time. The good times continued for the home side in the second half with four more tries and were 40-6 to the good before Tweed scored two late tries in the last ten minutes.
The Pride’s loss has seen them lose fourth place to the red-hot Tigers, but are on equal points and have the easier final fixture. Norths loss in Mackay saw them drop out of contention for finals football.
How They Stand
3rd Townsville – 30pts +219
4th Easts – 28 pts + 103
5th Pride – 28pts +70
6th PNG Hunters – 28pts +42
7th Ipswich – 26pts +40
Who They Play Next
Townsville play Wynnum (A)
Easts play Burleigh (H)
Northern Pride play Tweed Heads (H)
PNG Hunters play Central (A)
Ipswich play Norths (A)
THE WOODEN SPOON
MACKAY BREAK DROUGHT, CAPRAS BREAK HEARTS
Mackay broke their winning drought which stretches back to Round 9, coincidentally against the same side as that distant victory, but it wasn’t enough to secure the wooden spoon for 2018 after the Central Capras produced an equally surprising win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The Cutters jumped out to a 14-0 lead by the 17th minute, but Norths got within 14-12 at the break and just after half-time Norths had gone ahead thanks to their third converted try. Mackay retook the lead with two tries in the 50th and 57th minute, but the Devils closed the gap to 26-24 with ten minutes to go. A nervous wait for the locals didn’t last long as two minutes later the Cutters scored and they hung on to register a long-awaited win.
Down the Bruce Highway to the south the Central Capras were breaking of five game losing streak of their own on Saturday night, with an eight point win of their own, and at the same avoided the wooden spoon for 2018. The Capras jumped out to 12-0 lead early, but were pegged back by the Falcons by time, holding onto a narrow 12-10 lead. The teams traded tries throughout the second half, but the important one for both of the teams at the bottom was in the 76th minute which sealed victory for the Capras. And voided last place after Tweed Heads handed it to them on the final day of the season last year.
The twin wins meant Central stayed three points ahead of Mackay with only the final round to go.
INTRUST SUPER CUP ROUND 23 RESULTS
EASTS TIGERS 36 Souths Logan Magpies 34
IPSWICH JETS 52 Tweed Heads Seagulls 16
BURLEIGH BEARS 22 Townsville Blackhawks 12
MACKAY CUTTERS 32 Norths Devils 24
CENTRAL CAPRAS 26 Sunshine Coast Falcons 18
Northern Pride 6 REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 16
PNG HUNTERS 40 Wynnum Seagulls 16