Super Rugby


7/2/2019

NEWSTEAD BREWING CO HOSPITAL CHALLENGE CUP- FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED IN ROUND 14


By Tom Primmer


1. TIGERS ROAR AT CHIPSY WOOD 

Round 14’s Match of the Round saw Easts secure a thrilling 13-point win over fierce rivals Souths to keep the Tigers alive in the race for finals. 

After Easts sped out to a 17-3 lead at halftime on the back of tries to Phoenix Hunt, Tom Milosevic and Riley Cooper, the Magpies rallied in the second stanza to come within three points at 20-17 with ten-minutes to play.

Coming into the game off of the bench, Eli Pilz stepped up with his second penalty goal to stretch the visitor’s lead, before Jack Frampton iced the game with one of the tries of the 2019 season.

With Souths camped on the Tigers try line and threatening to snatch a win in the final minutes, the flyhalf pounced on a wayward Jake Strachan kick and then booted the ball down field. 

Chasing along the right-hand sideline with Souths speedster Emori Waqavulagi in tow, Frampton regathered, kicked ahead and showed some soccer skills to again kick the ball toward the line, before outpacing Waqavulagi to collect the ball and score under the posts.

Frampton’s try sealed the win for the Tigers, with the game another enthralling instalment of one of Queensland Premier Rugby’s greatest rivalries. 

The win sees Easts move into sixth-spot on the ladder and within one win of a possible finals berth, while it has moved Souths back to fourth and at risk of losing their place in the top-four.

Souths will encounter the tough task of a road trip to the Gold Coast to face Bond University in Round 15, while Easts will host Wests at David Wilson Field.



2. BRETHREN FIND A WAY

Another week, another Brothers second-half comeback.

Whether it’s down to fitness, attitude or some Rod Seib magic at the half-time break is unknown, but the Brethren continue to cut down first-half deficits to lengthen their now six-game unbeaten streak.

This week it was Sunnybank, with the Dragons getting out to a 17-0 advantage early at Crosby Park and leading 25-10 after an 80-metre runaway try from Liam McNamara early in the second-forty.

The lead meant nothing to the ladder-leaders however, with the Brethren responding with 24-unanswered-points of their own to thrill the Crosby Park crowd and claim a twelfth win for 2019.

Hooker Ethan Dobbins scored his first Premier Grade five-pointer in the win, while Paddy James also crossed to go to the top of the Hospital Challenge Cup try scoring tally, as the home side ran out 34-25 victors.

The win further cements the Brethen’s spot on top of the table, with Brothers now boasting a twelve-point advantage over the second-placed GPS.

They’ll enjoy a bye in Round 15, before travelling to St Lucia to face UQ, with Junior Wallabies stars Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson and Michael Wood likely to return to further strengthen the line-up.

Despite the loss, Sunnybank continue to prove they can contend with and beat anyone in the competition, and with the return of backline star Isaac Lucas imminent, the Dragons look likely to add to their win tally as the season approaches its end.

The Bankers will host UQ at Oldmac Oval in Round 15.

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3. GALLOPERS RETURN TO THE WINNER’S CIRCLE


GPS snapped a two-game losing streak over the weekend with a 29-22 win over Wests at Sylvan Road to spoil Ladies Day celebrations for the Doggies.

The Bulldogs had the chance to steal a draw after the siren, as has been done to them in the past two rounds, but were denied by Jono Kent, who forced a turnover to seal the win and cap an outstanding game from the winger which included two brilliant tries.

The sides traded five-pointers in the first-half through Kent and Jerry Lynch respectively, while an Isaac Henry penalty ensured the homeside headed to the sheds with a slim 10-7 lead.

Jeeps went on to score the first three tries of the second-forty to open up a 26-10 lead, with Tom Kibble’s thirty-metre bulldozing effort showing just why the young flanker is so highly regarded in the Queensland Rugby scene.

Wests replied with tries to Callum Hicks and Harry Higgins but were unable to break the Jeeps defence in the final minutes, while a DP de Lange penalty put the final score out to 29-22 in favour of the Gallopers.

After successive losses to Bond University and Souths, GPS were desperate for a win at the Kennel to reaffirm their status as premiership frontrunners, with the victory also extending the gap to UQ in third spot to 10-points.

Jeeps will travel to Hugh Courtney Oval this weekend to take on Norths and continue their charge for back-to-back titles.

For the third week in a row, Wests were beaten in the final minutes and by seven-points or less against a premiership contender (GPS, Brothers and UQ), and although the losses are heartbreaking for the Bulldogs, they prove the side is one of the competition’s best.

They’ll face Easts at Tigerland in Round 15, with both sides needing a win to continue their hopes of a finals berth.


Jono Kent starred for GPS in their win over Wests. Photo Credit: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel.

4. JAMES ‘ICE MAN’ DALGLEISH BREAKS EAGLE HEARTS

He’s been christened with the nickname of ‘Ice Man’ by his club, and rightly so after James Dalgleish slotted a conversion after the siren to cap a one-point comeback win over Norths for UQ in Round 14.

Trailing by 13-points in the 73rd minute, props Pat Fepuleai and Kris Nielsen both scored for the Students to give Dalgleish the chance to steal an unlikely win and the experienced flyhalf made no mistake, nailing the kick and sending the St Lucia crowd into raptures with a 40-39 win.

After a 13-minute, three-try blitz, the Heavies got out to a 26-7 lead at half-time before the dangerous Eagles backline kicked into high gear in the second-forty to claim the advantage.

Winger Kegan Tuhega scored two exceptional tries for the visitors including an 80-metre intercept, while speedsters Jordan Luke and Veresa Mataitini also crossed to put the score out to 39-26 in favour of the Eagles by the 73rd minute.

A second upset win over UQ for 2019 wasn’t to be for Norths however, as Fepuleai, Nielsen and Dalgleish combined for 14-points to ensure the Students left with the chocolates on Saturday afternoon.

The win sees Uni move past Souths and into third-place on the ladder, with the Students out to continue their finals charge when they travel south to take on Sunnybank this weekend.

Norths will look to pick up the pieces from the narrow loss when they host GPS on Saturday.


James Dalgleish stepped up in the clutch for Uni. Photo Credit: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel.

5. LEADING POINTS AND TRY SCORERS TAKING SHAPE

While the race to the top four is well and truly on, the battle to take out both Hospital Cup top point scorer and top try scorer honours has heated up in recent weeks.

On the try scoring tables Brothers winger Byron Ralston sits in first with 11 tries, with Souths flyer Emori Waqavulagi trailing closely on 10.

Brothers clubmates Reuben Wall and Paddy James share third place with eight, while Joey Fittock (Bond University) and Maile Ngauamo (GPS) both have seven five-pointers.

For the top point scorers, Wests young gun Isaac Henry has racked up quite an advantage with 131, while Jake Strachan (Souths, 111 points), Rohan Saifoloi (Brothers, 104 points) and James Dalgleish (UQ, 102 points) make up the remainder of the top-four.

With just four games of the Queensland Premier Rugby competition remaining, it’s all to play for on both the competition ladder, and the try and point scoring tables.

Byron Ralston sits atop of the try scoring table. Photo Credit: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel.

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