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QLD Cup Review - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 08:43:00 GMT

Tweed Heads remain the only reigning premiers still without a win from the top two Rugby League competitions in Australia after round 4.

Losing by an average of 10.5 points per game in their first four fixtures this season, there is certainly some defensive work to do with the titleholders biggest loss occuring in round 1 after going down by 18-points to Redcliffe.

Both of last year's Grand Final contestants have been attracting some unwanted records this season and this weekend it was the Dolphins turn after they became the first losing team to be held scoreless in 2008.

There are some interesting weeks ahead in the Queensland Cup.

Round 4 Review
By QLD Cup Media

NORTHERN Pride coach Andrew Dunemann would love to go to a game without having to bring an umbrella.

But while the Pride continues to win, you get the feeling Dunemann is more than happy to keep brushing away the rain drops.

The Pride racked up its fourth-straight victory in the Wizard Cup with a hard-fought 18-8 victory over the Burleigh Bears at a wet Pizzey Park on Saturday night.

“Every where we go it seems to rain,” quipped Dunemann, whose team played its first two home matches on a rain-drenched Cairns field.

“It would be nice to get on a dry track and see how we go.”

After racking up three big wins in the opening rounds, the Pride found itself in a genuine arm-wrestle on Saturday night.

Burleigh led 4-0 at half-time and appeared to be heading for another win after clawing its way to an 8-6 lead with about 10 minutes remaining.

But the northern newcomers ran in two quick tries through David Faiumu and Ben Laity to snatch the match from Burleigh’s grasps.

“Our defence kept us in the game,” Dunemann said.

“It was a bit wet so they (Burleigh) kept putting shots on the ball and forcing mistakes.

“I thought they probably got the better of the forward battle actually.”

Replacement forwards Greg Byrnes and Scott Bolton gave the Pride a massive lift with energetic performances.

Dunemann’s team faces a short turnaround this week, with a Saturday afternoon booking against the dangerous Souths Logan Magpies.

The Pride coach admits a second match on the road in as many weeks will present a new obstacle for the in-form side.

“It is going to be a tough task for us,” the former Gold Coast, North Queensland and Canberra player said.

“As I said, every week is going to be a different challenge. It is going to be a huge test to see how we back up.”

Northern Pride 18 (J Nicolau, B Laity, D Faiumu tries; Chey Bird 3 goals) d Burleigh Bears 8 (A Fielder 2 tries)

Ireland Puts Name On Map

THREE tries, four conversions and a comfortable win.

It’s all in a day’s work for new Ipswich Jets winger Scott Ireland.

The West Balconnen recruit announced himself on the Wizard Cup stage with a powerhouse display for the Jets at the Briggs Road Complex on Saturday.

The big winger completed a hat-trick in the second half and landed his fourth goal from as many attempts as the Jets crushed the out-of-sorts Dolphins 24-0 in a commanding display.

While the Jets kicked in for a big night of celebrations after winning all three grades on Saturday, the misfiring Dolphins made the painful trip back to the peninsula with a lot to ponder.

The match marked the first time Redcliffe had been kept scoreless in a Queensland Cup match since the Burleigh Bears beat them 22-0 in the 2000 season.

Ipswich led 18-0 at half-time after Gavin Cooper’s opening try was followed by a scintillating double from Ireland.

Cooper was at his menacing best, further enhancing a claim for a Titans recall when he charged on to a neat pass from Todd Riggs and crashed over to score.

Ireland converted the try to put the Jets in front 6-0.

The classy winger was back in the game just minutes later when Jets centre Donald Malone created some space down the left-hand flank.

Ireland swatted Redcliffe’s cover defence away with ease to open his try-scoring account with his new club.

He grabbed his second try soon after when he leapt high into the air to snatch a well-placed bomb from the in-form Riggs.

The visiting Redcliffe team had a few chances to pull in the 18-0 deficit before half-time.

However, the normally slick Dolphins backline never got into stride as the Jets easily snuffed out the few opportunities Redcliffe had.

Redcliffe’s miserable outing continued in the second half when a Ryan Cullen break was called back for a forward pass.

Cullen’s frustrations grew in the second-half when he was sin-binned for a professional foul on Malone.

Malone made several breaks down the left-hand side in the second half. But apart from Ireland’s third try, the Jets failed to capitalise on their spate of chances in the second stanza.

Titans halfback Josh Lewis made his comeback from injury for the Jets. Lewis, who started the match from the bench, had a few nice touches but his best form may yet be a few weeks ago.

Ipswich 24 (S Ireland 3, G Cooper tries; S Ireland 4) d Redcliffe 0

Tigers Shoot Down Comets

IT’S taken close to a month, but the Easts Tigers have finally lived up to the pre-season hype surrounding their Wizard Cup prospects.

The Tigers posted eight tries to thump the Central Comets 40-4 at Langlands Park in Saturday’s round four match.

The win was the first of the season for the Tigers and a first under the new regime of head coach Darren Smith and assistant Steele Retchless.

Easts simply had too much firepower for the out-gunned Comets.

Boom centre Matt Gruszka was the star for the Tigers. The hard-running Berala Bears junior completed his hat-trick early in the second half when he combined superbly with young halfback Jason Connors.

Connors threw a delightful long cut-out pass to Gruszka, who marched over to score his third try and the Tigers’ fourth of the afternoon.

However, the Comets only trailed 16-0 at that stage because the Tigers had missed all four conversions.

Comets supporters watching the ABC telecast from their Rockhampton living rooms must have been contemplating a come-from-behind-win when Central hit back through a neat try from Matt Minto.

Somehow, the Comets were only behind by two converted tries.

But Easts blew the game wide open, racing in a further four tries from that point in a devastating display.

Classy hooker Trent Young and halves Issac Kaufmann and Connors had a field day behind big forwards Charlie Tonga, Abraham Sila and the skilful Tom MacGougan.

Hat-trick hero Gruszka was quick to praise the Tigers’ forward pack.

“We just wanted to go straight up the middle (and) set a good platform,” Gruszka told the ABC.

“The forwards did that and it just happened outwide for us”

Gruszka conceded the Tigers had failed to string two halves of consistent football together in their opening two losses.

“This week we put two good halves of footy together and it all paid off,” he said.

It always looked like the match belonged to the Tigers when flying winger Kev Stephensen scored a spectacular try in the corner in the eighth minute.

Displaying all the skill of an English Premier League soccer striker, Stephensen toed the ball through with his left boot before re-gathering to score a miraculous try inches before the touch in-goal line.

Easts 40 (Gruszka 3, Liddell, Campbell, Stephensen, Kaufmann, Lockyer tries; M Lockyer 4 goals) d Central Comets 4 (M Minto try;)

Seagulls Soar At Kougari

WYNNUM Manly has moved into the top five for the first time this season with a gritty 26-14 victory over the Norths Devils at BMD Kougari Oval.

Seagulls halfback Denny Lambert steered the home side around the park superbly in the slippery conditions.

Lambert scored a crucial try in the first half and landed three conversions to consign the Devils to their third loss from four starts.

While Norths remain in the lower half of the table, the rejuvenated Seagulls leapt into outright fifth spot on the back of the 12-point win.

The Seagulls led today’s match 16-0 at half-time following tries from Steve Irwin, Luke Dalziel Don and Lambert.

Irwin scored the opening try of the match when he jumped high into the air to take a pin-point accurate cross kick from Lambert in front of the rowdy “Chook Pen”.

The diehard group of Wynnum supporters roared with great delight when Irwin slammed the ball down over the line.

However, the Wynnum crowd was kept quiet for a large proportion of the second half as the Devils fought their way back into the scrappy contest.

Young centre Luke Samoa stamped his class midway through the second half with two quick tries.

At 16-8, the Devils were well and truly in the match.

However, the young Mark Gee-coached side paid the price for making too many basic handling errors.

The Devils knocked on twice from the kick off and on a further two occasions lost possession on the first tackle - Read More, Here