The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Tanu Wulf?s performance was built on confidence where his speed took him through gaps in play to score two exciting tries.
Bob Blair continued to be a threat to the opposition with his sound defense and a display of evasive running, which on one occasion resulted in a 60-metre try.
Team veterans Darren Glase and Nathan Roe continued with their reliable performances. Roe?s enthusiasm and determined running was a highlight for the small Davies Park crowd.
Glase?s strength as a leader in the forward pack forced the opposition to adjust in defense and created valuable opportunities for his outside backs. His defense was solid where he met the Bears? challenge on many occasions with hooker Zeb Kyle and Tully giant Mat Morice.
Morice?s game improves each week and will prove to be a forward of great worth when he learns to demand even more from himself in the competitive Queensland Cup competition. Hooker Zeb Kyle has that necessary quality to tidy up the loose ends. His winning attitude threatened the Bears on many occasions including a ?pick up? from Van Dijk that would normally go to ground.
Kyle ?stretched? himself to gather the ball and still force his way to the try line only to fall a centimeter short against the determined Bear defense. This was the big difference in the teams overall performance. There was a clear effort to push that little further. To make each ruck and every tackle count towards an improved outcome. Kyle showed that with his pick up.
Nathan Roe did it when the visitors challenged him on a 40/20 attempt. He met the challenge and turned a defensive situation into an attacking nightmare for the opposition. The team did it on the second half kick off when the defense forced their number one priority, a ?turnover?, and scored valuable first points in the second half.
Kev Prior showed on occasion why the Papuan National team rely on him. The back rower was elusive with the ball, making clean breaks. Those breaks have been too infrequent this season and Prior fell victim to his anxiety in attempting to offload at inappropriate times. Aaron Lewis? improved performance was hampered by his long-term hand injury. Lewis? courage to play with the injury has a price which prevents us from seeing him in top form.
The game showed that the Souths Logan Magpies do have the talent that is not reflected in their position on the ladder. Coach Anthony Griffin is tormented with the knowledge of this and his persistence is an example for his chargers to follow.
Kev Prior, Alwyn Simpson and Aaron Lewis all showed sparkles of brilliance and a consistent display of that brilliance in weeks to come will dominate any opposition.
Team captain Jace Van Dijk again led by example and demanded the best from his players throughout the match. This is a player who is clearly not happy with this season?s results. Van Dijk maintains his confidence in the teams? ability and continues to search for improvement. He is a high achiever as witnessed in last years? NSWRL Premier League Grand Final where he led the Raiders to victory. His goal is to repeat that outcome with the Souths Logan Magpies.
While the match was a disappointing defeat for the Magpies, it was possibly the team?s best display of rugby league football this season. The 42-28 scoreline fails to reflect the competitive nature of the match, which was deadlocked up to five minutes before full time. The Burleigh Bears weathered the Magpie storm and their experience showed that opportunities do come with persistence and hard work. This was seen with a match-winning intercept try to half back Brent McConnell. Another try on full time showed that Burleigh Bears are a class football team who play for the full 80 minutes.
Player?s Player was awarded to Bob Blair who is quickly becoming a player for the game?s future. A Grade started the weekends game in a competitive spirit against the undefeated Burleigh A?s.
The team?s performance failed to overcome an experienced Bear?s team that profited from each Magpie error and showed determined effort to recover when they themselves erred.
New signings, Jamie Vette and James Api?s brother, Basil, showed class in their early outings with the Magpies and can only improve with more experience. The final score, 30 ? 12 The Colts team played their way to an early match winning lead only to succumb to a determined Bear?s team who forced a full time score of 28 ? 28. Coach Chris Phelan was not impressed at the team?s failure to finish off the challenging visitors. The Colts grade is a continuous learning curve and Phelan ensures his players have the lessons of future Queensland Cup champions.
The Magpies next home game is Sunday May 16 against the North Queensland Young Guns.