Matt Crowhurst reports on the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final rematch between the Easts Tigers and Redcliffe Dolphins played at Langlands Park on Saturday.
A battle between two of the competitions premium hookers highlighted Saturday afternoon’s ANZAC round clash at Suzuki Stadium. Aaron Booth and Jake Turpin were among their teams best in a gritty clash that saw the Tigers emerge victors in a 16-12 replay of last years Grand Final.
Turpin’s Dolphins had the better of the first 40 minutes, putting plenty of pressure on the Tigers. They scored their sole first half try in the 29th minute when Jeremy Hawkins finished off a slick backline movement to cross in the left hand corner before bringing the ball round to dot down under the post. The Dolphins could have and, with the possession they had, probably should have scored a number of other first half tries. Hawkins had the chance for a first half double through an almost identical try, however the final pass went forward and this was to be the story of the day for the Dolphins.
The Tigers had opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Josh Ralph took the ball at first received, went step, step and was through the defence to score beside the posts.
Bryce Donovan and Aaron Booth converted their teams opening tries and the half time score was 6-6.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the second half with a try to hard running forward Patrick Kaufusi. They kicked very well in general play, keeping the Dolphins defence on the back foot and earning three line drop outs. They are to good of a side to not score with that much possession and Kelma Tuilagi scored the match winning try in the 70th minute.
The Dolphins let the ball flow when they had it and kept Tigers defence stretched from sideline to sideline. They were in the game right to the final seconds, however, as with the first half, mistakes at crucial moments stopped them from making the most of the opportunities they created.
For all their free flowing play the Dolphins sole try in second half came in the 53rd minute when big James Taylor barged over. Bryce Donovan also converted this try to round out their 12 points for the day. Their best on the afternoon were Turpin, Donovan and Nathan Watts.
Tigers coach Scott Sipple will be happy with his teams ability to get the two competition points today in what was a scrappy game. It may not have been a pretty win, however it does not really matter how you win, only that you do. His best players on the day were Patrick Kaufusi, Booth and sparkling fullback Matt Cooper.
Next week the Tigers travel to Wynnum while the Dolphins host the Bears.