TURBULENT TIGERS | Wests Tigers' 2016 season was... interesting.
From the demotion and eventual dep...
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Anthony Griffin said he derived no extra pleasure from beating old club Souths Logan, as the new Redcliffe coach oversaw a 44-16 win against the Magpies at Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
Griffin left his post at Souths Logan last year due to health concerns, with then-CEO Mitch Brennan and assistant coach Pete Edwards taking over mid-season.
Now on the peninsula, Griffin has Redcliffe sitting equal fifth after four rounds, recording the same number of wins in four weeks as he had in the first three months of season 2004.
?I still have a soft spot for Souths,? Griffin said.
?There?s no satisfaction from getting over the top of them or anything. I?m great friends with everyone there. They are a good club and they?ll beat someone soon.?
The Dolphins led the Magpies 28-0 at halftime, but faded with scrappy play in the second half.
Parramatta signing Matt Gruszka scored two tries, but forward Matthew Mapes was voted best on ground by his peers, with Adam Starr not far behind. Last year Mapes helped Nambour to a premiership in the Sunshine Coast-Gympie competition and, with age on his side, could still add a State League title.
The biggest scare for the Dolphins came 15 minutes from fulltime when halfback Michael Roberts went down with an ankle injury. Griffin removed his star playmaker as a precautionary measure.
For the first time since the start of the season, Souths Logan hooker Scott Smith failed to score for the Magpies and the Dolphins admitted to targeting the clever ball-player. One player to cross the line for the Magpies was Joshua Stowers, the Player of the Year for Brisbane Second Division in 2004.
Meanwhile, Dolphins kicker Greg Bourke reached another milestone, becoming just the third player in the Queensland Cup to have scored 800 points, along with Damien Richters and John Wilshere.
Redcliffe hosts Wynnum in the live ABC telecast next Saturday, while Souths Logan is at home at Davies Park the same day to North Queensland.
REDCLIFFE 44 (Matt Gruszka 2, Ryan Cullen, Nick Emmett, Shane Perry, Michael Roberts, Matthew Mapes, Shannon Fish tries; Greg Bourke 6 goals)
SOUTHS LOGAN 16 (Matt Templeton, Josh Stowers, Grant Lewis tries; Scott Smith 2 goals). _______________
A sizzling second half has snapped Toowoomba out of an early season funk, the Clydesdales raining down 48 points in 40 minutes to eclipse Central 58-18 in Rockhampton.
Gaining assistance from the warm Capricornia weather, the visitors ran the Comets ragged in an exchange that saw the return of Queensland Cup strikeweapon Aaron Barba.
Barba played his first game of State League in two years after a spell in lower grades and Sydney, and was instrumental in the win from fullback.
His injection into the play allowed Toowoomba to climb out of a 12-0 hole, with his enthusiasm, pace and sleight of hand helping to bridge the gap to 12-10 at halftime.
An increase in ball control by around 30 per cent then allowed the Clydesdales to gallop away in the second stanza, with the return of halves Berrick Barnes and Stuart Kelly bringing noticeable improvement.
?We hadn?t been very good in the two previous weeks (a loss to Tweed and draw with Ipswich) and we weren?t very good for the start of this game either,? coach John Dixon said.
?Our execution and the loss of key players led to some ordinary football.
?But in the second half today we ran well, we tackled well and we controlled the ball well. Getting back two good halves made a whale of a difference.?
While Barba filled in admirably for Nick Parfitt (hamstring, 4 weeks), forwards Anthony Seibold, Nick Kenny, Derricke Watkins and Neale Wyatt laid the foundations.
In all Toowoomba scored eight converted tries in the second half, with Kelly and Greg Eastwood both posting doubles.
While Central is yet to record its first victory of the season, the Clydesdales are now one point off the competition lead.
The Comets visit Norths at Bishop Park on Sunday, while Toowoomba has the bye.
CENTRAL 18 (Mark Henry, Matt Hill, Herewini Rangi tries; Jade Wogand 2, Herewini Rangi goals). __________________
A hamstring injury for scoring whiz Brenton Bowen was the only blight for North Queensland as the Young Guns handed Burleigh its first loss since last July.
Fullback and goalkicker Bowen could manage just 30 minutes of the 26-8 victory at Dairy Farmers Stadium, but still managed two tries on a night of celebration for the North Queensland club.
A week after being pummelled by Easts, the Young Guns bounced back with vengeance, even with Bowen?s injury and the late withdrawal of halfback Brent McConnell.
McConnell flew to Brisbane on Friday to be present for the birth of his child, leaving Kieran Kerr to fill the playmaker role.
?A win at any stage of the competition is important, but it was particularly nice to get one this weekend,? coach Grant Bell said.
?We haven?t had the start we?d envisaged. Of the four games so far we?ve turned up for two and not turned up to the other two.
?We?ve played four very good teams and we know where we have to be.?
Enjoying the return home, utility Shane Muspratt had another strong game for North Queensland, while captain Daniel Strickland led his team well.
The porous defence which freely leaked tries against Easts was nowhere to be seen, with Burleigh only able to cross twice through Trent Leis and Reggie Cressbrook ? both former North Queensland players.
?Certainly we were a lot better at the defensive component of our game,? said Bell.
?We spoke about it and did some work in that department, but mostly it was about players taking responsibility.?
NORTH QUEENSLAND 26 (Brenton Bowen 2, Jason Barsley, Daniel Strickland, Kieran Kerr tries; Scott Bolton 3 goals)
BURLEIGH 8 (Trent Leis, Reggie Cressbrook tries). _____________________
Norths coach Wayne Treleaven says he will not hold kicker Steve Irwin responsible for a 28-all draw with Tweed Heads, despite Irwin missing a relatively simple penalty that would have clinched the game.
In a remarkable contest at the Piggabeen Complex, the Devils fought back from 28-4 down to tie the match with five tries in 14 minutes.
Irwin then stepped up to the mark in the 78th minute for a goalkick after referee Justin Eastwood blew a crucial penalty for Seagulls marker Tom Prichard being out of position.
The attempt was skewed, leaving Treleaven and counterpart Steve Murphy with jumbled emotions.
?I?m disappointed not to have won, but on the other hand, coming from so far behind took a great effort, especially considering Tweed scored first in the second half,? Treleaven said.
?In the end we were only a goalkick away from victory, but I don?t hold Steve responsible.
?He was hitting them well. He just didn?t have direction. The wind down there swirls a bit too. Next week he?ll probably come out and kick seven from seven.?
In absurd circumstance Norths went almost the entire first 20 minutes of the game without touching the ball.
Tweed controlled the football majestically and rode a 7-0 penalty count as they built an ominous scoreline before halftime.
?I was thinking ?How good is this??,? Murphy confessed.
?It was nervous though. We knew Norths were a quality football side that could make their mark when they got a bit of possession.
?Obviously that time was going to come at some stage and I was interested in how we would handle it.
?The mindset of the players in the sheds afterwards was we lost that game. We were fortunate to play like that and still get a point.?
Injury was added to insult with Seagulls benchman Jeff Moat suffering a sternum injury.
Norths? centre Greg Inglis again shone, scoring two vital tries to take his tally to nine in four games.
Now equal second on the ladder, Norths faces Central at Bishop Park next Sunday.
Unbeaten after two draws, a bye and a win, the Seagulls take on Easts at Langlands Park on Saturday.
NORTHS 28 (Greg Inglis 2, Aaron Morgan 2, Peter Robinson, Steve Irwin tries; Steve Irwin 2 goals)
TWEED HEADS 28 (David Strachan 2, Nathan Small 2, Ben Hill tries; Brad Davis 4 goals). ___________________
Easts coach Michael Booth is bracing himself to lose captain Darren Smith, with speculation the Brisbane Broncos could recall the veteran talent.
Booth aired his fears after the Tigers scraped through 18-16 against Ipswich at QLD Group Stadium on Saturday night, grabbing a share of first place on the Queensland Cup table.
The same night Brisbane was flogged 50-4 by Melbourne in the NRL, the worst loss in the club?s history.
?From my point-of-view, here?s hoping the Broncos don?t call up Smithy after copping a hiding,? Booth said.
?It could be on the cards. He is dual registered after all. They may very well decide they need him after that.
?The thing you know with Smithy is that he will do the same thing week in, week out. He?s a competitor. He?s never beaten.?
In the black-and-gold, Smith was again among his team?s best in the two-point win over the Jets.
Matt Lockyer also had a standout game and was rewarded with two tries, while forwards Marty Allen and Leigh Coghill toiled vigorously.
The Tigers roared to a 12-6 lead at halftime, but the second half was a neck-and-neck affair.
A try five minutes from fulltime gave Ipswich kicker Brendon Lindsay a difficult shot at goal, but the five-eighth was unable to tie the game.
While the loss of Smith could come as a blow to the Tigers, the next few weeks will see the returns of Josh Essex (foot), Aaron Kuskey (shoulder) and Michael Pearce (groin).
Easts battle Tweed Heads at Langlands Park next Saturday, while Ipswich travels to Burleigh on Sunday. The Jets are yet to win a game.
EASTS 18 (Matt Lockyer 2, Walter Imo tries; Brandon Costin 3 goals)
IPSWICH 16 (Jonathon Muir, Ricky Bird, Matt Cameron tries; Brendon Lindsay 2 goals).
Thanks to the good guys at http://www.qrl.com.au for another excellent report.