Queensland Cup - Round 18 -

Norths continued their recent hot form with an entertaining 28-26 win over Burleigh at Pizzey Park in the ABC Television match. The first 15 minutes had a ?semi-final? feel before a break to Devils centre Michael Crockett sent Derek Fletcher on a long dash for a try. Bears halfback Brent McConnell crossed for a good solo try to level the scores 6 all after 25 minutes. A try to second row Aaron Bulow gave Norths a 12-6 advantage but McConnell then grounded his own grubber in-goal for a smart try to again tie the scores. A pass from veteran centre Reggie Cressbrook saw Jeremy Lateo cross in the corner and Burleigh hit the front 16-12 on half-time.

A great McConnell pass handed Cressbrook a try and the Bears? advantage was extended to 22-12 after ten minutes of the second half. However with hooker Ryan Gundry in the sin-bin for a professional foul, Norths took full advantage notching two tries, through Kerry Smith and Cooper Cronk, to snatch the lead 24-22. A try to young fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae increased the margin to 28-22 before Burleigh replacement Adam Hutchinson scored a late try. Cressbrook?s sideline conversion attempt drifted wide and the Bears were resigned to their first loss in 7 rounds. Young Norths dynamo centre Matt King, a Queensland Maroon representative, capped a fine match to be named the QRL?s ABC TV man of the match.

Tweed Heads leapfrogged Toowoomba into fifth spot on the ladder with a handy 30-24 win over Easts at Langlands Park. Tigers winger Steve Beattie scored an early try before Seagulls halfback David Hicks sent fullback Nathan Cross over under the posts to level the scores 6 all. Five eight Grant Dutton posted a good try for Easts but a mistake at the kick off gave Tweed Heads possession and forward Corey Maher scored for Seagulls to lead 12-10. A penalty goal on half-time saw the Tigers level the scores at the break. Early tries to Luke O?Dwyer and Kris Flint allowed Tweed Heads a lead of 24-12 before hooker Clayton Humphreys scored from dummy half for Easts to narrow the gap to 24-18 after 60 minutes. A try to Michael Pearce, and a great sideline conversion by skipper Scott Thorburn, levelled the scores again but a penalty goal and a try in the dying minutes for Clint Rothery sealed the Seagulls win.

Wynnum stayed in equal top position with a comfortable 45-26 win over the under-strength Toowoomba outfit at Suncorp Stadium. The backs dominated the scoring for the Seagulls with wingers Herman Lafaele notching a hat-trick and Damien Quinn 18 points (2 tries, 5 goals), halfback Brett McPherson scoring a double and fullback David Seage also crossing for a try. The Clydesdales loss sees them slip to sixth position and in danger of missing a finals berth.

Ipswich maintained the number one spot (on percentages) with an easy 48-18 win over the Comets at Bendigo Bank Oval after the Comets led 12 nil early in the game. Young centre Joel Smallwood scored a hat-trick and winger Steven West took his season?s points tally to 212, with a try and 5 goals.

North Queensland had an easy 42-6 win over the struggling Wests Panthers in Ayr. Five eight Michael Meigan crossing for two of the Young Guns 7 tries and winger Brenton Bowen slotting seven conversions.

Redcliffe thrashed Souths Logan 66-22 at Dolphin Oval and the Premiers continue to edge up the ladder. Speedster Aaron Barba crossed for an incredible 5 tries, with big front rowers Shane Tronc (a hat-trick) and Adam Starr (double) also amongst the try scorers. Fullback Shane Cox scored two tries for the Magpies and centre Rick Dodd crossed for a try as well as slotting 3 goals.