The Brisbane Tigers roared to victory, Redcliffe celebrated and Capras won in Super Sunday Connell Challenge matches. This followed Saturday’s Ipswich Jets win triple treat win on Saturday and Tweed’s break through victory.
The Mackay Cutters and Northern Pride Meninga Cup teams had a stunning draw, while the Tweed Seagulls broke their duck in action on Saturday.
In Ipswich, the Jets held off the Sunshine Coast Falcons to come away with a triple treat of wins (reports below).
And on Sunday, the Redcliffe Dolphins escaped a resurgent Norths Devils side to remain unbeaten in the Connell, the visitors clinching a tight 20-14 victory at Bishop Park.
CQ Capras also had a rousing win, 30-8, over Blackhawks, with Phillip Yock scoring a try and kicking four goals.
Then Brisbane Tigers outlasted Wynnum-Manly 26-14 in its Connell clash, with props Cooper Benevenuti and Kobi Floro, and halfback Elijah Breen, drove their team to victory.
Tigers coach Lote Tuqiri said it was a strong team performance, with his bench players of McGahan, Donovan, Theuerkauf and Reader playing their role in hot conditions.
“I liked how we stayed in the game,’’ Tuqiri said.
“Wynnum came at us in that second half and made it a bit of a grind and we grounded it out.
“It is good to win a tight game and come away with it in the end.’’
Tuqiri said he was also pleased the squad showed discipline late when tempers flaired.
Seagulls coach Ben Weston said his side lack discipline on occasions after a good first 55 minutes.
“I was very happy early. We were right in the game and gave ourselves a chance but we let it get away from us.’’
He praised Rosario Indelicato, Deniro Lui and his halfback Tyler Pereira.
Earlier in the match, giant Tigers prop Kobi Floro unloaded for his team’s first try by Dom Ierome after a fabulous clearing kick from halfback Elijah Breen had given his team field position.
Wynnum struck back courtesy of a powerhouse Majah-Jose Peachey whose dynamic wide blindside run from scrum ball had the Tigers defence scrambling.
The Seagulls had earned the restart after a towering Bomb from halfback Lynton Close had been spilled.
But Tigers regained the lead in time for the halftime break when centre Palehehau Latu found the chalk.
Then No.6 Close was in the game after the break when he contributed to runaway Tigers edge forward Betham losing the ball as he was trying to spin over the line.
But the Tigers scored soon after anyway, with halfback Breen taking the line on against a back peddling Seagulls.
Having missed an early bomb, Seagulls fullback Tawa-Dean Simpkins was magnificent in defusing a kick which led to a momentum shift.
Minutes later Wynnum dynamo Peachey created another try and the Gulls were back in it.
Hooker Jones then snared a close
range try and with 12 minutes to play Tigers were ahead 16-14.
That lead was stretched by Betham’s storming dummy half effort after, a few minutes earlier, he had produced a classic covering tackle.
At Bishop Park, Redcliffe Connell Challenge coach Chris Little said it was a mammoth effort from his boys to dig deep in the 30 degree heat.
“We have six of our starting side out with injuries but we’ve said from the beginning no excuses. Focus on who we got and they stepped up and got the job done. We were super physical. I knew Norths were a well-coached, skilled side, and we just had to be on our game.
“Credit to them they came back at us in the second half and we stayed strong enough to get it done.
“We’ve been together since December and in training they put in all the extras. They’re playing for each other. Working for each other— a bunch of mates now.
“Our halves Noah Fien and Carter Welfare played well, controlling the game,” Little said.
“Our captain Brian Pouniu was sensational again. He has found his voice and he leads by example. His carries and post contact metres, no one compares in the competition.”
Little said the Dolphins signed Pouniu is playing for his older brother Joseph, who broke his neck playing the game he loves.
“He’s playing for a lot of reasons and the boys look up to him. They love him. I am happy for him to be our leader, leading by example.”
The visitors started strong, flying out to an 18-0 first half lead.
It wasn’t until the last play of the half where Devils centre Cooper McInnerney could use his speed down the right edge to get his team on the scoreboard.
Before this four pointer, orchestrated by lock Jared Horne and fullback Ethan Grimshaw, the Redcliffe boys crossed through prop Taufa Taulani, hooker Amare Wynyard and forward Marley Baker.
Taulani scored after Devil Luca Rossetti and Dolphins’ backs Jake Carsburg and Logan Hudson exchanged try-saving tackles in opposite corners.
Then, Wynyard burrowed his way in from dummy half, and Baker a beneficiary of an overlap created by five eighth Carter Welfare.
Fullback Dustin Appo had his radar working, slotting three tough conversions to add the extras—rewarding his hard working forwards Azariah Toki-Mautairi and Henry Sologinki who worked tirelessly in the middle to give their side front foot ball.
The Devils came out a different team in the second half, suffocating their opposition with great line speed.
Horne spearheaded the Devils’ momentum shift, gifting centre Devine Timu a four pointer after a one-on-one strip ripped the ball away from his rivals grasp.
Timu strolled over for his second with three minutes to play, drawing Norths within six at 20-14.
An Appo penalty late in the piece paired with gutsy try-line defence, securing the Dolphin’s fourth win of the season.
Norths coach Shannon Tupara said his boys showed a lot of fight, grit and character. “I can’t ask for anything more.”
“I am proud of their efforts. It was a great fight back. It’s something they will learn from.”
Tupara praised his No.12 Lincoln Dalton and prop Dyer Akauola, who dug deep in their first starts.
Both boys are just 14 years of age.
The Cutters-Pride under 18s clash was a ripper, with a 26-all draw between the clubs.
Pride pair Tesharne Kapigeno and Jason Hallie scored late to steal a draw, with Hallie’s try just two minutes from full-time, and Noah Blooranta’s successful conversion making it 26 apiece.
“I am proud of the boys’ effort, and it was another improvement from last week,’’ said Pride coach Kris O’Farrell.
“The team is displaying resilience which is pleasing.’’
Aside from Hallie who was a powerhouse for Mackay, his fellow prop Gabriel Tunimakubu again starred for the second week in a row.
X-FACTOR PLAYERS OF THE MENINGA, CONNELL COMPS
Mackay Meninga coach Kim Williams said although his team scored some nice tries, he was disappointed with “our inability to close out the game when we were ahead’’.
“We made too many silly mistakes,’’ he added.
Williams said half and captain Jaxon Purdue and prop Matthew Watts were his team’s best.
In the Meninga clash in Ipswich, the Jets won by the skin of their teeth, coming back in the second half to triumph 30-26.
Ipswich’s Tyler Peckham-Harris scored the match-winning try in the 64 minute, ducking out of dummy-half to regain the lead for his team.
Winger Saifiti Junior Saifiti was also the man of the hour, slotting five-from-five in a masterclass which ended up the difference.
Both sides scored five apiece but Saifiti and his radar from both touchlines produced a stunning result for the Jets in front of their home crowd.
Prop Mafiou Cherif and Cayleb Johnson combined for a huge tackle in the last play of the game to deny the Falcons from landing a telling blow.
Falcons playmaker Tulloch McLellan put in wing Cody Rose for try No.1 with a split second decision to chip it to the corner.
The visitors were in a hurry, storming out to an early 10-0 lead with Bayden Hayles darting out of dummy half for his side’s second.
They looked on for another try moments later but prop Cherif had different ideas, flattening his rival with a rib cruncher.
In the second half, Cherif got the whole grandstand on their feet with the shot of the year thus far.
After claiming his first victim, the momentum shifted and minutes later Alton Naiyep found himself in the right place at the right time for the Jets first of the day.
10 minutes later Naiyep made a try saving tackle on Falcons fullback Finn Lawson who sliced open the Jets defence, before linking with McLellan who was dealt with 10m short.
Lawson, who was sensational all game, took the two points after Naiyep was put on report for the high tackle.
You may have guessed it already but Naiyep was the man to score on the stroke of halftime for Ipswich, setting up an exciting second half at 18-12 in favour of the visitors.
The Falcons began the second on song with winger Ethan Yarrow dotting one down but Jets skipper Jack Laing responded in fine fashion- barging his way over with a smart quick tap.
The Sunshine Coast, thanks to prop Mason Kira’s try late in the first and Yarrows to open the second, held the lead At 22-18 with 23 to play.
The Jets then captured their first lead of the game at 24-22 when Keisaia-Iuomalo Su’a scored, courtesy of fullback Dom Sandow’s patient draw-and-pass.
As was the case the entire 60, both teams traded blows through huge hits and crucial get-back tries.
Falcon Kallum Murphy retook the lead at 26-24 but trusty Peckham-Harris was a kingmaker with a textbook try out of his new position of hooker.
Peckham-Harris, goalkicking ace Saifiti, captain leader Laing stars in a game defining team effort from Ipswich. Azariah Puleaga had one of his best outings of 2023, as did Su’a and Cherif.
For the Sunshine Coast, Lawson, McLellan and Kira shone.
And in another Meninga Cup surprise, Tweed Seagulls slide past Souths Logan to record their first win of the season – 22-18.
But try scoring prop Alex Leapai crossed twice for Souths Logan, and Buchbach’s late try then meant it was a gripping finish.
Seagulls coach Sam Meskell said his team deserved their win in “very tough conditions’’.
He said in the extreme heat it was always going to take a courageous effort and his side produced after “giving up fairly easily in the last couple weeks’’.
“They showed some resilience and a bit more discipline,’’ he said.
Meskell’s message moving forward was for his side to be more patient in attack and build pressure and not try and score just because someone had poked their head through the line.
“Sometimes the rewards come later in that set or even in the next set,’’ was his message.
Meskell said winger Matt Barrow was enormous with his workload.
“He was really good at the wing. He rolled sleeves up and carried us out of trouble,’’ he said.
Baylen Donald was another who earned praise for his defence which “saved us a couple of times while rookie prop Hiawe King was strong. “He came off the bench and his defensive efforts last week and again today were great.’’
Souths coach said aside from Leapai who was outstanding, edge forward Mahonri Tiotala was a powerhouse.
“We only competed for 30-25 minutes which isn’t good enough in a 70 minute game,’’ said Souths coach Ben Trim.
In the Western Clydesdales v Wide Bay Bulls Meninga Cup fixture, the Downs’ boys had a hard fought 26-6 win,
Clydesdales had the perfect start when Jett Day plunged over after one minute, but after that hiccup Wide Bay competed hard – very hard.
The Clydesdales only gained the upper hand late, with tries by Bud Smith and the exciting Aaron Hinch blowing the score out.
Bulls coach Shaun Hobson was proud of his team’s effort. “We played really well as a team today rather than as individuals,’’ he said.
“There are a few areas we need to clean up, but I am proud of the way we hung in there.’’
He said the group just had to learn how to react better to errors or penalties when they seem to lose their way, but all in all progress was being made.
“We were down some fair footballers today as well,’’ he said in reference to their injury list.
“We are proud of them.’’
Hobson said left centre Mitchell Sly continued to be a Mr Fix-it, filling in at centre in the absence of elite edge player Tom Morcom.
He also said Fletch Prendergast rose to the occasion, but overall he was pleased with everyone’s effort.
Winning coach Paul Boase said he liked his team’s effort across the 70 minutes. “We didn’t drop off,’’ he said.
However, Boase said the group would continue working on its line speed and winning the ruck.
Best for the Clydesdales was prop Bailey Rathmore and winger Matt Drew.
Earlier in the Connell fixture between Pride and Cutters, Mackay second rower Mark Morrow shone on the left edge during Mackay’s 34-4 win.
Morrow ran off his halves Cooper Shears and Flynn Battaia who offered early ball for both he and fellow edge forward Lachlan Starr.
“We got our second rower on to some early ball running at the spot players and we stuck to our game plan,’’ said Cutters coach Andy Battaia.
Tweed, coached by Sam Meskell, held on late as Lachlan Buchbach crossed three minutes from fulltime to give Souths Logan sniff.
Earlier the Tweed led 22-6 after tries from Matthew Barrow, Toran O’Donnell and Will Saunders.
He said Morrow, with his strong runs, was the best player in his side, but both halfback Cooper Shears and Justis Costigan were also good in an excellent team performance.
Costigan, the nephew of Queensland Origin hardman and NRL premiership winner Neville Costigan, was strong in defence, but also carried the ball strongly and linked nicely with his halves.
Northern Pride coach John Buttigieg said his team was disappointing but he did not want to take anything away from the Cutters.
At the North Ipswich Reserve, the Jets came away with an 18-16 victory over the Sunshine Coast Falcons, avenging their round 2 loss where they fell short 32-30.
The game was abandoned with six minutes left to play after a high shot left Falcons halfback Ellyjah Birve unconscious.
Fortunately the excitement machine wasn’t out for long before regaining consciousness but it did take some time for the Ambulance to arrive.
The No.7 stayed on the ground for an hour, being taken great care of by the North Ipswich Reserve and QRL medics who were quickly by his side after the awkward tackle went pear shaped.
Before this, the Falcons were flying in a second half comeback- fighting their way back into the contest after finding themselves down 18-6 at the half.
Earlier, Christian Mikaele opened the scoring for Ipswich. Last week the five eighth put on a playmaking display not dissimilar to the wizardry Wavell SHS alumni Karl Oluapo whipped up last year in the Langer Trophy.
Mikaele was masterful again.
The Bone Collector Xzavier Timoteo struck next with his signature straight line surge. His rivals fast finding out that he cannot be stopped from in close.
On the stroke of halftime ‘The Flash’ Also known as Leroy Charles scored the Try of the Day after finishing a deft cross field kick from Mikaele.
It was exactly like last week when the pair combined for two tries in a win over the Wide Bay Bulls.
Lock Jackson Koina scored in the first half for the Falcons, and in the second half it was Birve and winger Keegan Zanchetta who crossed for the visitors.
Ipswich head coach Jye Tuaimau-Gadsdon said he was very happy to secure back-to-back wins even though his side let their rivals back into the game during the second half.
”We’re showing better signs. We’re a couple guys away from our best 17,” he said.
“Yes it’s good to win games but for us it’s development. Giving everyone a run.
“Finn Kendall was good again and James Pau in his first game back since round 2 was excellent.
“Timoteo was good. He wants more minutes. It shows how keen he is. How eager he is. “Cooper Cracknell played the full game in the heat so that was a big effort,” he said.
The ever improving Timoteo isn’t signed at the minute but that won’t be the case once the season is out.
NRL clubs the Raiders and the Bulldogs are interested and given the Jets affiliation with the Roosters you’d have to think the star forward will be picked up soon.
Falcons coach Tim Baldwin pointed out that his side had their opportunities but couldn’t capitalise.
“They took their chances. They put us under pressure. The heat played a factor today.”
Baldwin said Birve can go anywhere he wants, after the halfback had yet another electric performance.
“He has some sort of deal with Melbourne but there’s interest there. He is in year 10 at Caloundra State High, and he is one of of our best defenders. He has a smart kicking game and is very elusive.
“He’s a tough kid and breaks tackles easily,” Baldwin said about the promising No.7.
And it was clear on the day, with Birves try sparked by his sharp step and acceleration off the mark.
Second rower Taj Burke, who is with the Broncos, was a standout for the Falcons.
Cowboys signed Jackson Koina and Charlie Coates were also hard workers in the forward pack, leading the charge in the second half.
Rake Taj Handsaker also earned the praise of Baldwin after inspiring his troops from the ruck.
At Marsden, Souths Logan survived a scare from Tweed Seagulls to post a 26-16 win.
A try from Tweed’s Reece Gorman midway through the second half closed the gap to 20-16 and it was anyone’s match.
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ROUND 4 MENINGA CUP, CONNELL AND HARVEY 19s TEAMS MATCH DAY
SPEED DEMONS OF THE MENINGA, CONNELL AND HARVEY 19s
SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GUNS
It took a try from Magpies centre ace Joseph Tupuse to give his team breathing space after Souths Logan had swamped Tweed early to score three tries in the first 12 minutes – to Bannan, Clarke and Leota.
“We were not panicking but Tweed played strongly. We never underestimated them,’’ praised Magpies coach Scott Bannan.
He said despite being “a bit lazy in the middle’’, the match was a great test for the team’s endurance given the heat.
Halfback Levi Bannan, centre Tupuse and prop Emmanuel Asomua shone.
Bannan’s energy off the ball and effort areas were first class while Asomua ran strongly and Broncos signed centre Tupuse was a handful. “You can just rely on the bloke. Every time he has the ball in his hands he will do the job,’’ said coach Bannan of Tupuse.
In Toowoomba there was a nine try feast as the Clydesdales beat their country cousins Wide Bay Bulls 32-18.
The Bulls were almost blown off the park trailing 32-6 but rallied in the last third of the game to show the pride and fight of the squad.
The Western Clydesdales could not have had a better start with Kailan Roberts and Braithen Scott scoring after six minutes, and Scott’s second try and four goals saw him finish with 18 points.
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Scott, of course, was outstanding after reverting to halfback early in the game, but put a circle around Ray O’Neill’s name.
O’Neill has arrived in Toowoomba from Goondiwindi and after starting on the bench for the first few matches, he shone on the left edge.
A big, raw boned country kid really made inroads, as did prop Roberts who enjoyed starting.
Coach Ned Murphy said his side was “pretty ruthless early on’’ and converted their training form onto the field. This included controlling possession.
The Bulls were again good outside a 10 minute period which is hampering them this season.
They could not go with the Clydesdales early, and down three tries to nil were always manning the pumps.
But there continued to be good signs, with the best for the Bulls fullback Harrison Braithwaite, hooker Riley Maule and prop Sebastian King.
In Harvey Norman under 19 girls’ matches, Mackay Cutters had a 38-nil win over Northern Pride, Tweed Seagulls beat Souths Logan 24-10 and the Clydesdales defeated Bulls 46-10.
Clydesdales coach Russell Jones said they played the match like they had been training – displaying plenty of positive talk and energy.
But coach Jones was still seeking more consistent football across the match.
Regardless, with four key players out, and with most of the squad 16-17 year olds, Jones said plenty of positives including halfback Bonnie Zappa who steered the side around and fullback Cheyenne Zerbel who, aside from her general play, also landed five goals.
“That helps with her confidence,’’ Jones said.
He said Eliza Morcom came on field in the first minute and “tied up a lot of ball’’, killing the offload while his “forwards in general’’ shone.
But he also praised dummy half Kirra Howard in her first game back from back injury and centres Lucy Davis and Breanna Hoskin.
Cutters coach Matt Sanders said Lily Peacock led a depleted side to victory after the outfit had been sapped of four players called into the BMD, and then an injury early in the match to one of their halves and hooker.
“The team stayed composed and determined to compete in defence, which is one of our core values,’’ Sanders said.
Northern Pride coach Flori King said there was a lot of effort in her team’s loss to the Pride although it was tough for her young side to stay in games. “It was a tough day.
“The usual players were good, Arielle Hobbler and the like,’’ King said.
“They are carrying loads of others at the moment but that’s just where this team is at.
“They need more time on the field and in competition and they will be better.’’
In Ipswich, the Jets toppled the Falcons 42-16 in a superb second half display.
The home side surged out to an early lead, scoring three unconverted tries before a well deserved drinks break 15 minutes into the contest.
It was a scorching hot 34 degrees at the Reserve, but indeed it felt like 40.
The Jets came out hot in the heat, all thanks to damaging forward movers Lina Tanielu, who with her barnstorming carries, made things a ton easier for the backs.
With Tanielu and teammate Pauleeja Mau’s destructive rucking up the middle, they quickly uncovered a chink in the Falcons armour, and from there, there was endless room to move out wide—and in close where the Sunshine Coast girls were retreating with exhaustion.
Australian Schoolgirl lock Tiresa Elika was first to cash in on the foundations laid by her forwards, scooting out of dummy half for four.
Then, prop Mau crossed deservingly, before five eighth skipper Imogene Davidson dummied herself and her blue headgear over for Ipswich’s third.
The Falcons retaliated after having close to no ball for the first 15.
Centre Shannyn Harm and hooker Taylor Fitzgerald found the line. Reserve rake Marissa Nicholson added great energy and aggression when injected from the bench.
The Sunshine Coast were in it one second and then out of it the next and the turning point had to be Rosina Tupua’s try on the stroke of half time.
There was space galore down the right edge and finally the ball found the wing, Tupua having no troubles turning the overlap into points.
It shot the life out of the Falcons who had a good argument for a double movement.
Despite this momentum shock, they regrouped and battled even harder in the second.
But, Ipswich’s firepower couldn’t be contained.
Speed demon Relna Hosea, an Ipswich Grammar senior, went the length of the field after quick thinking from Taya Beckers.
The No.2 caught the ball in goal and expertly recognised the chance that presented itself with open pastures ahead and an uncatchable Hosea on her inside.
Easther Mikaele continued the Jets fine start to the second, as did Elika who scored her second.
Second rower Dmaris Setu and Tanielu settled the scores at 42-16 after a gusty try from lock Allira Purcell brought up the Falcons lone try in the second.
Jets fullback Ariana Henderson was safe as houses at the back for Ipswich.
In Logan, the Tweed Seagulls soared home in the second to clinch a 24-24 win over the Magpies.
Tweed Seagulls coach Anthony Swain said his side “came home strong in the second half.”
“Instead of trying to go around them, we realised the easier option was through the middle.”
He said fullback Mercedez Siale Touteleiand prop Jaida Faleono were his best in a team which is improving each week.
IN Saturday night’s match, the Brisbane Tigers got rolling to win 22-4 over Wynnum.
Karen Pritchard, India Seeto, Liliele Vaitolo and Esther Pedro all scored to give the home side a big advantage despite a courageous effort from the Seagulls.
Footnote: coverage continues Sunday.
Originally published as Brisbane Tigers, Redcliffe Dolphins and Caprs up in Sunday matches