The Intrust Super Cup reached the halfway mark of the season as Round 13 played out over Friday to Sunday with 6 big games, but the results of those games has been overshadowed by the news of the passing of Grant Giess from the Easts Tigers. As with the previous article from Matt Pritchard here, sincere condolences to Family, Friends and the Easts Tigers community.
Round 13 was lucky for some teams in the top 5 as Townsville and PNG Hunters both won their respective games over their top 5 rivals in Mackay and Ipswich. The other top 5 team Wynnum Manly won the annual clash on Stradbroke Island.
Elsewhere the Northern Pride beat their midfield rivals Tweed Heads taking an upper hand in the chase of the leaders, whilst Burleigh bounced back from a big loss last weekend, and the Sunshine Coast made it two in a row against Redcliffe.
Here’s how they sit after 13 Rounds, just Ipswich and Wynnum Manly left to have a bye.
|2||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||13||10||3||0||363||231||132||20|
|9||Tweed Heads Seagulls||13||5||7||1||280||272||8||12|
|11||Sunshine Coast Falcons||13||4||8||1||220||360||-140||10|
|12||Souths Logan Magpies||13||3||9||1||281||380||-99||8|
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 14 def MACKAY CUTTERS 12 @ Stadium Mackay (H/T 0-0)
Townsville remain on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder as they held on for a hard fought 14-12 win against one of their north Queensland rivals Mackay Cutters. For the time being, the 50+ scores and 30+ margins are gone as Townsville have to deal with being the target for all the Queensland Cup sides.
Mackay have had a tough run of late with games against both north Queensland rivals in consecutive weeks, but would be reasonably happy with a close win and loss from those two games. They remain equal fifth with Easts Tigers.
The game itself was a tough affair and the soccer score line of 0-0 at half time proved the closeness between the two sides in a half that also featured errors from both sides.
The game opened up in the second half with two tries a piece, each time it was the away side the Blackhawks who scored first, only to be pegged back by Mackay. The first to Townsville was a long range try and Mackay’s first came out wide. The next try to each side came from kicks, Townsville’s from a dropped bomb, and Mackay’s from a chip kick.
The deciding points of the game came in the 74th minute as Townsville won and converted a penalty to lead 14-12. It was almost not the finals points as Mackay crashed over with seconds to spare, but it was ruled no try due to a dropped ball and Townsville hung on for the win.
Townsville will be relived as they avoided a second straight defeat and head further south to Rockhampton to play the struggling Central Capras in a first v last game. Mackay will get it slightly easier next week when they welcome Redcliffe.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 28 def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 12 @ Sunshine Coast Stadium (H/T 16-6)
Lightning did strike twice on the Sunshine Coast on the weekend as the Falcons repeated their only win of 2014 by running out 28-12 over the Dolphins on the coast for a second consecutive year. The win puts their season back on track as they now have two in a row for the second time this season.
Sunshine Coast opened up the scoring in the 7th minute and scored another 6 points eight minutes later courtesy of the rare penalty try to lead 12-0. Each team scored another try before half time leaving the home side up 16-6 at the break.
Redcliffe needed the clichéd first try after the break, and that is exactly what they got in the 54th minutes to close the gap to six points and give the Falcons something to worry about. But the Sunshine Coast needn’t be worried as Redcliffe had done all their scoring for the match, as the Falcons first took the safety of a handy two points, and then put on another two tries before full time to welcome their second home win of the year and fourth overall.
Both sides are on 10 points with the Dolphins ahead thanks to a much better for and against. The home side welcome the Northern Pride on the coast next weekend and Redcliffe travel to Mackay. A win for either side will be needed as finals chances are starting to fade.
NORTHERN PRIDE 24 def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 18 (H/T 18-10 Tweed)
The Northern Pride got back to winning ways with a hard fought win over the Tweed Heads Seagulls, coming back from a half time deficit to keep the visitors scoreless in the second half and hang on for a six point win and advantage over their midfield rivals.
The home side kicked things off with a try in the fifth minute to lead 6-0, but the travelling Seagulls scored three of the next four tries in the first half to take a mildly surprising 8 points lead into the main break.
After their comprehensive 50-4 win over Burleigh the previous round, Tweed Heads would have been confident to hang onto that lead, but it didn’t take long for the home side to stamp their authority on the game. Two tries for the Pride in the first 10 second half minutes grabbed the lead back, and they defended their 20-18 despite much pressure from the Seagulls until the 73rd minute when they extended their lead to 24-18.
Tweed weren’t able to break through for any final points, as the Pride kept their finals hopes alive over a team they entered the weekend in with the same amount of points. They are now just 2 points off fifth, but will need to improve their for and against to be any chance. They have a chance to improve that on the Sunshine Coast next weekend. Tweed Heads will lick their wounds and hope that Piggabeen is a happier place next weekend when the Tigers come to town.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 40 def SOUTHS LOGAN MAPGIES 32 @ Ron Starkey Oval, Stradbroke Island (H/T 26-10)
Channel 9 took their cameras to North Stradbroke Island on Sunday, and the viewers at home, locals and heartiest of fans were treated to a perfect winter day and some entertaining attacking rugby league. All in all 72 points were scored and whilst Wynnum Manly won, they were pushed by the rejuvenated Souths Logan Magpies.
When the Seagulls raced out to a point a minute 22-0 lead including the first two of a hat trick for Greg Eden, it looked as if the Magpies would not enjoy their island experience. But this is a different side to the Magpies who won only one of their first eight games in 2015. They fought back with two tries to reduce the score to 22-10 before half time. It didn’t stop the Seagulls though as they had time for one more try and held a 26-10 lead at the break.
Souths Logan scored first after the break too, and the gap was down to 10, which was extended as Greg Eden completed his hat trick. That gap reduced again, and this time to six points as the Magpies hit back with two tries, and all of a sudden it was game on at Ron Starkey Oval.
But the class of Wynnum Manly shone through as late in the game they put two tries on, and with just three minutes to go held a 40-26 lead that was not going to be lost. It didn’t stop the Magpies scoring once more to reduce the final margin to eight, and win the second half against quality opposition.
Wynnum Manly get to put their feet up next with w bye, but the Magpies have one of the toughest games in the Intrust Super Cup at the moment with an away trip to the red hot PNG Hunters.
BURLEIGH BEARS 28 def CENTRAL CAPRAS 12 @ Pizzey Park (H/T 16-6)
The Burleigh Bears recovered from two huge losses in the last three weeks to beat the last placed Central Capras in relatively comfortable fashion on Sunday afternoon on the Gold Coast.
It was a much needed win for the Bears to up their confidence as local rivals gave them a 50-4 lesson in rivalry round last weekend, and Townsville beat them by 72 points two games before that. In between those was a 1 point win over the Mackay Cutters, and that resilience was on show against the Capras on Sunday.
The home side race out to an early 10-0 lead, and were pegged back briefly by the Capras at 10-6, but tries either sides of half time gave the Bears an advantage they looked unlikely to lose at 22-6. Central did score again but it was quickly rebuffed by the home side who took the win 28-12.
Burleigh are currently 6-6 for the season and a visiting Norths team fresh from a bye next weekend gives them the chance to move their season win ratio to better than 50%. Central meanwhile haven’t won since Round 1, and the prospect of the table topping Blackhawks visiting next round seems unfair for a team struggling to break an 11 games losing run.
PNG HUNTERS 40 def IPSWICH JETS 28 @ Kalabond Oval (H/T 16-6)
What looked one of the games of the weekend didn’t disappoint in Papua New Guinea as two of the most attacking minded teams in the competition, and both in the top 5 faced off on Sunday afternoon. The game has plenty of tries as expected, and the see sawing battle on show would certainly be welcomed in the sharp end of the year if both these sides make the finals.
PNG had the better of the first half with three tries to one giving them a 16-6 advantage over their Top 5 rival. But Ipswich are just as deadly in attack as the Hunters and it only took three minutes into the second half to post their second try. But this spurred the home side into action with another two tries to extend the lead to 28-12 with 19 minutes left.
But if the Hunters thought it was easy street all the way home they should have known better as the Jets went on the attack themselves and quickly reduced the 16 point deficit into a 28-28 deadlock. However the Jets comeback ended there as two tries in the final 5 minutes gave the Hunters an important home win against another top team.
The Hunters have now beaten first and second in consecutive games, and have shown their premiership credentials by moving within 2 points of the competition lead on the back of six straight wins much to the delight of their many fans. Ipswich also lost no admirers as no side has taken points for the Hunters at home in 2015 and will no doubt feature in the end of year finals. PNG plays Souths Logan at home next round to maintain their home record, whilst Ipswich get the week off.