Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The mental health of Bears supporters was the greatest concern for Burleigh coach Rick Stone after the Gold Coast club staged its third come-from-behind victory in a row.
Having trailed Redcliffe 16-4, Burleigh fought back for a 32-22 win at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
It followed a 28-22 victory against Souths Logan (from 10-22) and a 28-14 defeat of Wynnum (from 4-14).
Had the Bears not allowed the Dolphins a try at the very death it would have been the third week in succession that the opposition had scored all its points in the first half.
?There?s a bit of belief in the team, which is good to have,? Stone said.
?Mind you, the coach doesn?t like coming from behind every week. It might send us all a little crazy.
?Hopefully the boys won?t get the idea they can give the opposition whatever start they like and they?ll catch them.?
Stone theorised that only two seasons ago the Bears would have lost all three games. He believes mental discipline and a stable core of players are now the difference.
Surging from behind, Burleigh scored four tries in a 15 minute period, including two to Aseri Laing from Adam Hayden kicks.
Promoted to the starting pack this week Adam Hutchinson was Stone?s pick for man-of-the-match, while Ryan Gundry and Ali Brown were also strong.
Redcliffe showed heart in defeat and while halves Shane Perry and Michael Roberts were contained, big men Nick Walker and Adam Starr were uncompromising in the middle.
Both teams had exceptionally high completion rates, particularly in the first half when there was barely an error from either side.
Burleigh faces North Queensland in Townsville next Saturday, while Redcliffe hosts Souths Logan at Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
BURLEIGH 32 (Aseri Laing 2, Balin Cupples, David Hicks, Adam Hayden, Adam Hutchinson tries; Reggie Cressbrook 4 goals) beat REDCLIFFE 22 (Mark Christensen, Shane Perry, Grant Flugge, Adam Starr tries; Greg Bourke 3 goals). _________
He all but makes those around him want to apologise, yet Norths wunderkind Greg Inglis continues to give reason for repetitive praise.
Coach Wayne Treleaven was almost contrite in addressing Inglis?s latest heroics ? two spectacular tries in a 30-12 win against Ipswich on Sunday.
With the heat taking its toll on the Devils? large forwards and Ipswich gaining the upper hand, Inglis posted two long-range efforts to electrify the Bishop Park crowd.
His efforts helped Norths to a 10-6 halftime lead, from where they went on to steamroll the Jets.
?Pretty much all that kept us in the first 40minutes of the game were Greg?s tries,? a subdued Treleaven said.
?It was very hot again and he just about ran 100m on one of those, then 50 for the other. There was a bit of work for him to do in both.
?We were just lucky they (Ipswich) didn?t get across the line on a couple of occasions when they could have.?
So far Inglis has scored seven tries in the first three rounds of the Queensland Cup, with an NRL debut surely looming close on the horizon.
Another with a bright future, five-eighth Brent Mulholland arguably posted the pivotal try of the match, scoring just two minutes into the second half.
Making headway, Norths crossed the line three more times to put the game beyond doubt by the 70th minute. North Queensland product Col Wilkie collected a double of his own.
Treleaven said ?patience and perseverance? had ultimately won the contest, spoiling Ipswich skipper Danny Coburn?s 150th game celebrations.
Prop Jamie McDonald toiled hard in the conditions for Norths, while Ricky Bird, Steele Retchless and Coburn led the way for the Jets.
Norths faces Tweed Heads at the Piggabeen Complex next Saturday, while Ipswich hosts Easts at QLD Group Stadium the same night.
NORTHS 30 (Greg Inglis 2, Col Wilkie 2, Josh Graham, Brent Mulholland tries; Steve Irwin 3 gaols) beat IPSWICH 12 (Andy Poynter, Marcus Jensen tries; Brendon Lindsay 2 goals). ________________
?I don't think they like us too much.?
Those were the words of Tweed Seagulls coach Steve Murphy after his unheralded squad again gave it to Toowoomba?s stars of tomorrow, winning 28-18 at Runaway Bay on Saturday.
Fittingly it was prop Eddie Harrison who sealed the victory, finishing a whale of a game with the try that put the result beyond doubt.
Ahead just 22-18 and vulnerable to a late charge by the Clydesdales, Harrison took the ball two passes wide on the short side and crashed over for his club?s first win of the year.
In 2004 the Seagulls also earned their first win of the season against Toowoomba, prior to a 34-all draw in round 22.
?It?s always a good tough game,? said Murphy, jubilant yet respectful of the opposition.
?I just think our guys turned up with a good positive attitude and were prepared to grind out a win.
?Our scrambling defence was fantastic. Toowoomba tested us out plenty, but we came up with the effort to stop them.?
Tweed captain Andrew Moroney was an inspiration, while young fullback James Wood brought his tally to four tries in two games.
Murphy described 20-year-old Wood as naturally gifted yet ?excitable?, hinting he would look to curb the mistake rate of the Bilambil junior.
One of the competition?s most prolific players last year, Toowoomba?s Nick Parfitt posted his first points of the year with a try and three goals.
Meanwhile, former Ipswich winger Gideon Mzembe scored his first try since switching to Toowoomba, having missed the first two Queensland Cup rounds.
Both Toowoomba and Tweed now have a win and a draw to their credit, although the Seagulls have already experienced the bye.
Tweed plays its first game of the year at the Piggabeen Complex next Saturday against Norths, while Toowoomba plays Central in Rockhampton the following day.
TWEED HEADS 28 (James Wood 2, David Strachan, Nathan Small, Eddie Harrison tries; Brad Davis 4 goals) beat TOOWOOMBA 18 (Nick Parfitt, Tony Duggan, Gideon Mzembe tries; Nick Parfitt 3 goals). _____________
Bending the line each time he touched the ball, Coghill provided the power while the likes of Darren Smith and Phil Dennis added the guile.
Easts controlled the match from the fifth minute onward, when former Victorian schoolboy Walter Imo crossed off a neat blindside scrum move, worked by lock Smith and fullback Matt Lockyer.
The Tigers were in front 22-4 at halftime and despite missing five of nine shots at goal, never allowed the opposition an opportunity to respond.
North Queensland also ran afoul of referee Rob Alexander more times than they would care to remember, with normally level-headed skipper Daniel Strickland providing a glaring example.
Strickland jolted tackler Dennis in the head while playing the ball in the 13th minute, with a costly penalty in possession ultimately leading to a try down the other end of the paddock.
Frustrated Jaiman Lowe found his way to the sin bin in the second half for backchat, but by then Easts led 40-8.
Ultimately, centre Rob Maller put the finishing touches on the win for the home side, scoring his third try of the afternoon after originally being named on the interchange.
While there were plenty of good individual performers for the Young Guns, namely Scott Bolton, Shane Muspratt, Brent McConnell and Jason Barsley, they lacked the teamwork of their rivals.
Impressive early, Jacob Lillyman finished the game injured, as did similarly skilful Tigers backrower Aaron Kuskey.
Now at two wins and one loss, Easts faces Ipswich away next Saturday, with North Queensland hosting reigning premier Burleigh the same evening in Townsville.
EASTS 44 (Rob Maller 3, Walter Imo 2, Darren Smith, Leigh Coghill, Steve Beattie, Matt Lockyer tries; Brandon Costin 4 goals) beat NORTH QUEENSLAND 12 (Brent McConnell, Wallace Solomona, Scott Bolton tries.) _____________
Souths Logan has been unable to break either its duck this season or its long-running hoodoo against Wynnum, falling 26-16 after a spirited display.
For the second week in succession the Magpies led against more fancied rivals, shooting in front of the Seagulls 16-10 at Davies Park.
Not surprisingly hooker Scott Smith was again among the thick of it, scoring for the third consecutive game and kicking two goals as the Magpies grabbed the ascendancy.
However, just as it had stumbled from 22-10 up against Burleigh to a 28-22 defeat in round two, Souths Logan didn?t bother the scorers during the latter parts of the game.
Wynnum ran in 16 unanswered points to stretch its unbeaten run against the Magpies to close to five years.
Having entered an early guilty plea to a careless high tackle and escaped suspension, lock John Bruce scored an important four-pointer for the visitors.
Looking back through the history books, the last time the Seagulls conceded defeat to the black-and-whites was round 11, 2000.
As it stands currently, Wynnum is on two wins from three appearances in 2005, while Souths Logan has experienced three losses on the trot.
Next round Wynnum has the bye, while Souths Logan travels to Dolphin Oval to take on Redcliffe on Sunday.
WYNNUM 26 (Daniel Sorbello, Jim Ahmat, Damien Quinn, Gary Winter, John Bruce; Jace Van Dijk 3 goals) beat SOUTHS LOGAN 16 (Scott Smith, Darren Glase, Grant Lewis tries; Scott Smith 2 goals).
Our thanks go to the guys up at http://www.qrl.com.au for yet another great review.