25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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With the Cowboys having the bye, the Young Guns fielded an NRL strength forward pack to defeat premiers Redcliffe 30-8 at Dolphin Oval in the ABC Television match. North Queensland?s effort however in the first half was below par and when Dolphins speedster Aaron Barba notched two tries, taking his season tally to nine, the home side led 8-0 after 15 minutes. Redcliffe dominated all aspects of the game in the first half but led only 8-6 at the break following a try to Young Guns skipper Paul Dezolt on half-time.
With Dolphins halfback Michael Roberts in the sin bin early in the second term his rival, Aaron Payne scored a brilliant individual try to hand his team a 12-8 lead. Payne?s second try after 20 minutes extended the margin and a penalty goal saw North Queensland in front 20-8 with ten minutes remaining. Payne then sealed the win running 80 metres to notch his hat-trick and a lead of 26-8. Fullback Daniel Sorbello scored a soft try on full-time for the final 30-8 scoreline. Payne was named QRL man of the match capping a fine display.
Wynnum maintained its share of top spot with a hard fought 22-18 win over Easts at Langlands Park. Seagulls captain Jason Keough scored after 20 minutes and when Denny Lambert crossed it was 10-0 to the visitors. A try to Tigers replacement Ross Sammut on half-time saw the margin 10-6 at the break. Damien Quinn?s sideline conversion of an early Paul Carige try gave Seagulls a 16-6 buffer but a Steve Beattie try had the margin back to 16-10. When winger Herman Lafaele scored out wide, and Quinn again converted, it appeared Wynnum had clinched a good win. But Easts, as they had done all match, refused to concede and hit back through two tries to Elton Seeto in the dying minutes and were attacking the Seagulls? line at the final whistle.
Toowoomba had to overcome an enthusiastic Norths outfit to win 24-20 at Stadium Toowoomba and seal a berth in the top five on percentages. Skipper Barry Berrigan maintained his recent good form crossing for two tries and Scott Prince continued his comeback from injury scoring a try and kicking a goal in the Clydesdales total. Devils hooker Brett Finn matched the effort of his rival Berrigan also notching a double.
In other matches Tweed Heads kept pace with Wynnum defeating Wests 28-10 at Albert Park, Gympie. Burleigh were too good for the Comets winning 21-12, Craig Kimmorley scoring all of the Comets points (2 tries, 2 goals), and Ipswich were run away 44-16 winners over Souths Logan at Bendigo Bank Oval.