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Sunnybank locked up a major semi-final berth and condemned defending premiers Brothers to a sudden death playoff against the Gold Coast next week after a weekend of Queensland Premier Rugby upsets left five teams in equal third place on competition points.
Brothers (+125 points), Sunshine Coast (+109), Easts (+57), GPS (-15) and Souths (-70) all finished the penultimate round locked together on 47 competition points, separated only by their for-and-against record.
Sunnybank will meet University in the major semi-final on August 22 after beating Brothers 33-22 at Crosby Park to spoil the Brethren's Ladies' Day celebrations and make their already poor home record even worse.
“We've lost four in a row at home, you can't keep losing at home and expect to be competitive. To not even take a (bonus) point out of today is really disappointing,” said Brothers coach Zane Hilton.
“We've just got to go down to the Gold Coast now and get a bonus point victory.”
Breathing down their necks are the Toutai Kefu-coached Sunshine Coast Stingrays, who also slipped on a banana skin at home in losing 17-10 to the Gold Coast when a win could have secured their first ever semi-final appearance.
“We just didn't turn up. (It was a) completely different team to what I've seen in the last five weeks,” said Kefu.
The Stingrays now have to play fellow semi-final contender GPS at the Gallopers' Yoku Rd stronghold next week, although GPS could just as easily have slipped up against wooden spooners Wests after a see-sawing match finally went 39-27 to GPS.
Easts continued 2009 grand finalist Souths' recent run of outs with a rousing 60-19 victory at home at Bottomley Park, while minor premiers University could afford to relax after an 85-10 defeat of an injury-hit Norths.
University play Sunnybank next week for the Welsby Cup, contested annually by the teams that were running first and second at the halfway point of the competition and will also be looking to become the official 2010 winner of The Caxton Cup, having successfully defended it for the past four weeks.
In other games involving potential semi-finalists next week, Easts will host Norths and Souths are at home to Wests, games that both would be expected to win with what will need to be high scores, as the for and against difference will be the decider if teams finish on equal competition points.
Round 17 results:
Sunnybank 33 (N Ah Wong, R Setu, B Tapuai, M Feaunati, S Sovala tries, B Tapuai 2 cons, R Kingi 2 cons) d Brothers 22 (A McLean 2, S Price tries, D Murphy 2 cons, pen)
Easts 60 (D Skelton 2, J Mullins 2, D Lucas 2, M Seuala, J Parry, J Charalambous, M Brandon tries M Brandon 2 cons, 2 pens) d Souths 19 (D Feao, C Field, F Manu tries, C Field 2 cons)
Gold Coast 17 (J Sykes try, D Nethery 4 pens) d Sunshine Coast 10 (L Fesolai try A Millington con, pen)
University 85 (W Tuffley 2, H Porter 2, G Morseu 2, S Rasolea 2, L Fidow, S Morahan, J Hanson, T Kuridrani, D Burns tries, W Tuffley 9 cons, M O'Leary con) d Norths 10 (U Maninoa, M Flynn tries)
GPS 39 (C Nasiganiyavi 2, D Slade 2, S Satui tries, M Garland 4 cons, 2 pens) d Wests 27 (S Higginbotham, N Genia, R Smith tries, I Aokuso 2 cons, 2 pens T Bennett con)
16 FEBRUARY 2019