Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
WYNNUM MANLY 16 d SOUTHS LOGAN 12
BEN Czislowski has returned from suspension with a bang, scoring a climactic try for Wynnum Manly as the Seagulls rose from the dead to beat Souths Logan 16-12 at Davies Park.
Outed for a fortnight for a dangerous throw, Czislowski deferred the captaincy in his return match, citing his preference to concentrate on improving his form.
Little did he expect to be on hand for the game-deciding play, backing up a 50m break by Paoa Faamita to clinch the match with six minutes left on the clock.
In bizarre circumstance Souths Logan led the game for all but a handful of minutes, grabbing a 12-4 advantage after a quarter-of-an-hour. The score stayed the same right through until the 67th minute when Seagulls dummy-half Wade Bachmann spun over to put his team back in the game at just 12-10 down.
Heightening the drama, a scoreboard malfunction left the display showing 13 minutes remaining, even as the game wore on. Now left protecting a slender two-point lead, Magpies co-coaches Jason Burnham and Brandon Costin were sweating on the game finishing as soon as possible.
But even when correct time was restored their prayers were not answered, as Wynnum began to shrug aside tired defenders.
Drifting out wide to the right, former Queensland Under 19 representative Faamita produced a stunning fend and then clapped on the pace, showing great balance and poise.
Faamita then drew the fullback and held his pass at the precise moment, finding an unlikely support in 104kg Czislowski who then outpaced the defence and slid over next to the goalposts.
In the dying stages the Magpies tried relentlessly to win back the game, but the determined Seagulls were not about to throw the points away.
More breaks came before the fulltime siren, with Luke Dalziel-Don going on a long run up the middle before being brought to a sudden and questionable halt by Phil Dennis. Referee Justin Eastwood penalised Dennis for tripping and placed him on report.
Wynnum Manly also had a player referred to the video tribunal, with winger Chris McQueen penalised for a dangerous throw on Quentin Laulu-Togagae in the first half.
The enigmatic Laulu-Togagae was tightly marked throughout the game and copped another bell-ringing hit from Bill Wyatt when the second half resumed.
In a contest where both teams were banking on a win, the game started with a high tackle on the first play of the game and a knock-on the second play. It told the story of a game where the sides were prepared to put everything on the line, even if lacking somewhat in execution.
WYNNUM MANLY 16 (Paoa Faamita, Wade Bachmann, Ben Czislowski tries; Denny Lambert 2 goals) d SOUTHS LOGAN 12 (Kyle Lodge, Tyrone Coppedge tries; Paul Rolls 2 goals) at Davies Park.
TWEED HEADS 18 d SOUTHS LOGAN 16
A TOUGH 22-18 win against the Central Comets has come at a price for the Redcliffe Dolphins, losing both captain Troy Lindsay and goalkicker Alwyn Simpson to injuries.
Forced to come from behind and then hang on grimly to their lead for the final 25 minutes, the reigning premiers were once again reminded how hot the competition is for this year