The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Norths 44 - Toowoomba 34
One coach simply described the match as ?brutal?. The other said the game had produced the most punishing tackle he had witnessed.
There were no prisoners taken at Bishop Park on Sunday, as Norths clung on for a 44-34 win over Toowoomba after leading 34-10 early.
While the scoreline correctly suggested defence was at times lacking, what body contact did occur was usually at full speed and without concern for self-preservation.
Indeed, despite being on the losing side Toowoomba forward Derricke Watkins provided arguably the highlight of the game, producing a second half tackle on Marc Brentnall that left spectators wincing.
?I would have to say, in terms of impact, that was the hardest tackle I?ve ever seen,? Toowoomba coach John Dixon said.
Norths coach Wayne Treleaven, himself a rough and ready character, also spoke glowingly of the level of football on display.
Tellingly, Toowoomba finished with shoulder injuries to three of its key players, Wyatt, Stuart Kelly and Nick Kenny. The Clydesdales were already missing Dane Carlaw through a similar ailment, Michael Ryan with a head knock and several other players on NRL duty.
Conversely Norths was at full strength and benefited greatly from the return of Cooper Cronk at five-eighth, as well as uncompromising forwards Smith and Jamie McDonald.
Never far from the spotlight, Greg Inglis added another two tries and kicked six goals to be both the QLD Wizard Cup?s leading point-scorer and try-scorer after seven rounds.
However a runaway intercept try by Josh Graham earlier in the match was perhaps more vital, coming after sustained pressure from Toowoomba.
With only a few days to tend to bumps and bruises, the Clydesdales tackle Easts in a blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. Meanwhile Norths continues its quest for top spot in a showdown with Wynnum at Kougari Oval on Saturday.
NORTHS 44 (Greg Inglis 2, Ryan Shortland 2, Josh Graham, Col Wilkie, Cooper Cronk, Scott Anderson tries; Greg Inglis 6 goals) beat TOOWOOMBA 34 (Aaron Barba 2, Greg Eastwood, Steve Michaels, Stuart Kelly, Derricke Watkins tries; Berrick Barnes 5 goals). ___________________________ Wynumm 32 - North Queensland 24
Luckless Mitchell Sargent was again consigned to the sidelines as North Queensland?s winning streak came to an end with a 32-24 loss to Wynnum.
Just back from a dislocated shoulder, Sargent was knocked unconscious after colliding with opposite man Craig Greenhill in the opening exchanges at Kougari Oval.
While the Young Guns prop will be assessed for concussion, Neil Wharton?s Seagulls will feel a burden lifted from their collective shoulders after starting the year in mediocre form.
Wynnum led 26-0 at one stage, with Greenhill and front row partner Clayton Maher complemented well by backrowers John Bruce and Grant Stuart. Stuart only recently became a father for the first time, adding a ?spring to his step? according to the coach.
Nathan Murphy was called up from Mixwell Cup to start for Wynnum in place of five-eighth Brett McPherson, having floated on the fringes at various clubs in recent seasons.
?We had to make some changes in response to the way we had been traveling at two (wins) from five,? Wharton said.
?I?d be lying to say I didn?t feel some pressure the last few weeks, but the thing about pressure is that you can?t sit around worrying about it. You have to do as much as possible to turn it around.
?I knew that everyone was working hard and doing their job, so I was confident things would change. I guess the thing with coaching is that if you can?t handle pressure, don?t do the job.?
North Queensland went into the match on the back of three successive victories. But startled by the loss of Sargent, they only began to fight back in the second half via a wonderful Jason Barsley hat-trick.
Wharton contended that Wynnum?s recent form could be attributed partly to a loss of key players and a draw that has seen the Seagulls meet most teams at full strength.
While loathe to rule Paul Green out for the season with a broken leg, Wharton said from his own experience with that particular injury, it would be a long road back.
Nonetheless Green has requested a waterproof cast from the club and has already begun aquatic rehabilitation, ?leaving no stone unturned?.
Next Saturday Wynnum will face Norths at Kougari Oval, while North Queensland will battle Ipswich the same day at QLD Group Stadium.
WYNNUM 32 (Simon Phillips, Scott Marks, John Bruce, Grant Stuart, Royce Simms, Darren Bain tries; Jace Van Dijk 4 goals) beat NORTH QUEENSLAND (Jason Barsley 3, Scott Bolton tries; Gavin Cooper 4 goals). ___________________________ Redcliffe 42 - Ipswich 20
Every human being they see will immediately be torn to pieces, as if their main task in this world is to kill desire.
In the 16th Century such a description was given of the beast of fantasy, the Griffin, consisting equal parts lion and bird of prey.
Fast forward almost 500 years and Redcliffe coach Anthony Griffin insists the one element missing from his team is ?killer instinct?.
Admittedly Dolphins conjure up a far more friendly image, yet Griffin wants his players to embody the same attitude on the field as his mythological namesake.
Sneaking into the top five after a 42-20 victory against Ipswich, Redcliffe was guilty of slackening off after establishing a lead of 36-4 just after halftime.
Most fans would have accepted the lull, given Ipswich is a team infinitely more talented than its position on the table indicates.
Not so Griffin.
?I thought it was a bit disappointing to be honest,? Griffin said of the game.
?Like a few recent games, we just haven?t been able to put teams away.
?We need to get that killer instinct to go on when we?re in front.?
With close to an 80 per cent completion rate in the first half, Redcliffe gave the visiting Jets few chances to wrestle the ascendancy.
Griffin was pleased with the effort from all of his forwards, as well as the direction of five-eighth Shane Perry. However he found fault with the outside backs, where the majority of errors were conceded.
?We spoke all week about how Ipswich could be a danger and that they?re not as bad as their position on the ladder (ninth),? Griffin said.
?In the first half it showed that we didn?t take them lightly. We perhaps thought that would carry over to the second half, but we didn?t put in the effort to make sure.?
On a losing side, Jets halves Ricky Bird and Brendon Lindsay continually posed a threat, while forwards Danny Coburn and Grant Young were also strong.
Next Saturday Ipswich hosts North Queensland at QLD Group Stadium, with Redcliffe away at Piggabeen on Sunday against Tweed Heads.
REDCLIFFE 42 (Greg Bourke 2, Nick Emmett 2, Ryan Cullen, Shannon Fish, Nick Walker tries; Greg Bourke 7 goals) beat IPSWICH 20 (Jonathon Muir, Gordon Rattler, Ricky Bird, Geoff Chalk tries; Brendon Lindsay 2 goals). ____________ Tweed Heads 32 - Souths Logan 4
Tweed Heads coach Steve Murphy says that with ?enthusiasm and effort?, he rates his young squad a chance in every game this season.
Looming ominously outside the top five after a 32-4 win over Souths Logan, Murphy?s latest band of ragtags and upstarts again look like being the surprise packets of the competition.
While keeping a relatively stable core of forwards, the Seagulls have pieced together a talented squad by adding cast-offs from other clubs and persevering with local talent. Because many are developed in the New South Wales junior system, they hold an element of the unknown to opposition players.
That?s not to say Souths Logan coach Phil Economidis would claim ignorance to Tweed?s roster, having spent recent seasons plying his trade in the Northern Rivers region.
On Saturday at Davies Park, Souths Logan scored early from a kick only to remain scoreless for the remaining 70-plus minutes of the match.
?We still made a few mistakes, but what I?m most pleased with was that defensive effort,? Murphy said.
?I just want to make sure things are being done so we can improve week-to-week?taking steps towards consistency.
?I?d like to see that without the flat spot of 15 minutes we seem to have in games. Yesterday was probably the first time this season we were alleviated of that situation.?
Murphy nominated backrower Ben Quinlan and centre David Strachan as his best, while also saying he was duly impressed by the Magpies? Eddie Dodd and Bob Blair.
The Tweed mentor nominated his captain Andrew Moroney for Queensland Country and Residents selection, with the skipper in fantastic form over the opening rounds.
Next week sees Tweed host Redcliffe on Sunday at the Piggabeen Complex, while Souths Logan aims to break its duck against Central at Browne Park the same day.
TWEED 32 (David Strachan 2, Ryan O?Connell, James Wood, Nathan Small, Tom Prichard tries; Brad Davis 4 goals) beat SOUTHS LOGAN 4 (Bob Blair ty). __________________________ Burleigh 46 - Central Queensland 10
He's known by all and sundry as the ?Woorabinda Wiz?, but Reggie Cressbrook only conjured up problems for Central Queensland as Burleigh raced to a 46-10 win against the Comets at Pizzey Park.
Assisting the Bears in moving to an outright lead in the Queensland Wizard Cup, Cressbrook was by no means alone in running roughshod over Central. However, the Burleigh utility posted two tries, kicked five goals and perhaps best encapsulated the problem the Comets face in retaining homegrown talent.
The town of Woorabinda is just over 90 minutes? drive south-west of Rockhampton, the head quarters for Central. Yet throughout a QLD Wizard Cup career that has brought Cressbrook 819 points, he has scored none of them for the region with which he is best associated.
Instead the 30-year-old has scored 794 of those points for the Gold Coast-based Bears and the remainder for fellow Southern Division club Ipswich. Previous to that, he spent several seasons in Townsville with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Throughout the State League are scattered numerous quality players from Central strongholds such as Rockhampton, Gladstone and the Central Highlands. At an NRL level, CQ is well represented by the likes of Matt Sing, Rhys Wesser, PJ Marsh and Tony Martin.
But with the Cowboys and Broncos approximately eight hours? drive in either direction and the lure of the coastal lifestyle, playing talent inevitable begins to gravitate away.
The Round Seven loss to Burleigh came after the Bears virtually shut up shop with half-an-hour remaining. Having scored two tries in the first five minutes, the home side held a 38-0 advantage at halftime.
Winger Trent Purdon finished the day with four tries, while for Central captain Mark Henry again acquitted himself well. At times the Comets threatened with their cumbersome ball-runners, but mistimed passes and lack of cohesion in defence brought the good work undone.
Burleigh will experience the bye next week and will eagerly watch the result of Easts v Toowoomba on Friday to see whether the Tigers will make another play at top spot on the table.
BURLEIGH 46 (Trent Purdon 4, Reggie Cressbrook 2, Aseri Laing, Martin Griese, Ryan Gundry tries; Reggie Cressbrook 5 goals) beat CENTRAL 10 (Clint Rothery, Grant Broadhurst tries; Ron Craig goal).
Thanks to the guys at http://www.qrl.com.au for another great article.