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By Thomas Lobban
1. UQ, daylight... GPS Seven Rounds into the season and the gap between the Red Heavies and the rest of the competition is already widening. While their six-from-six start is impressive, the manner in which they are winning these games is truly astonishing. From their six matches, UQ have already crossed the chalk 48 times and are scoring at an average of 52 points per-match. On Saturday, they trailed 8-0 early in the match before running in nine unanswered tries. From jersey one to 15 the Heavies are operating with unrivalled cohesion. They have had injuries and positional changes but the output is the same each week. This is a very well-drilled side.
2. The Bulldogs are no longer Premier Grade puppiesThere were murmurs over the preseason that Wests were going to be competitive in 2017. Those murmurs have been confirmed seven rounds in, because Wests sit in fourth spot and are not just competing, they’re winning and winning well. On Saturday, they crossed for three first-half tries to lead Easts 22-12 at the break. A penalty goal to fullback Byron Hutchinson soon after half-time was the final points of the match. In previous years the Bulldogs may not have had the composure to manage a 13-point lead but on Saturday there was grit in their defence and an obvious desire to win. They head into Round 8 with an opportunity to claim three wins in a row and third place on the ladder. 3. Eagles take off at the NestPrior to Saturday, Norths would have been scratching their heads and wondering where it had all been going wrong. They were winless. Despite a one-point nail biter with Brothers and a 34-point attacking effort against University of Queensland, the most by any team this year. On Saturday, the head scratching stopped when Norths ran riot at the Eagles Nest and crossed for nine tries. They clearly had a game plan to keep the ball in hand and it resulted in countless line breaks. Hat-tricks to Nick Chapman and Veresa Mataitini were highlights, but it was a hungry team effort that won it for Norths. They’ve been threatening for weeks, now they have broken the duck they must build on it.
Norths scrumhalf Nick Chapman was one of two players to score a hat-trick for the Eagles in their win over Souths. Photo: QRU Media - Brendan Hertel
4. Brothers retain the Flynn-Lewis Memorial Challenge Shield Brothers won a near-perfect six from seven games against GPS on Saturday to retain the Flynn-Lewis Memorial Challenge Shield for the third year running. Saturday’s results mean that the Brethren’s First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade and Colts 1 sides all remain undefeated in their respective competitions. Their Premier Reserves fell just short, going down 30-29 before the Premier Grade side held on to the same score line, only this time Brothers were crowned victors. For the Premier Grade side, it was a much needed result because the bye and the Easter break meant they hadn’t won a game since April 8. They now have an opportunity to string two wins together for the first time this year when they head to Chipsy Wood Oval to face Souths.5. Wakely didn’t eat his Weet-Bix University of Queensland prop Campbell Wakely is probably regretting not eating his Weet-Bix on Saturday morning because he missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity. With his 100th cap approaching the final siren, the veteran prop was handed the kicking tee to convert the final try of the match. Parked right up against the side line, he quickly lined up the kick and looked to have split the uprights. The ball fell short of the cross bar, UQ fell short of the 60-point mark and Wakely was denied bragging rights at the post-match Ladies Day function.
Campbell Wakely shows the Ladies Day crowd his best toe-poke. Photo Credit: QRU Media - Brendan Hertel.
23 FEBRUARY 2018