The Easts Tigers defied expectations to post an 18-10 win over the previously undefeated Redcliffe Dolphins at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park yesterday.
The Phins had started 2017 with two convincing wins, while the Tigers only had a single point from Round 1 draw to their names.
However, with a pack to rival any of the others in the competition, exciting halves and dynamic backs – Easts were always going to click eventually.
It was Redcliffe who opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Thompson Teteh showed both his strength and skill, running between two defenders and sending out a magical pass behind his back to Jonus Pearson.
The Tigers defence had no time to react and Pearson dived over in the corner. Josh Beehag converted to give his side an early 6-0 lead.
The Tigers responded soon after when a great run by Billy Walters set up Linc Port. Walters pirouetted, stepped and burst through the line, before slipping the ball to Port to finish clinically in the scoreboard corner.
The conversion was waved away, however Walters had a chance to make amends when he slotted a 36th minute penalty to ensure the teams would go to the break locked up at 6-6.
Walters was the creator again in the 44th minute when a beautiful inside ball to hard running fullback Gerard McCullum saw him cross the line untouched. Walters converted the try he helped set up to take the Tigers back out to a six-point lead.
The Dolphins responded with plenty heart in both attack and defence. Brandon Lee and Nathan Watts were both very impressive, as was Teteh who was punishing in defence and dangerous with ball in hand.
While it was Pearson who scored the Dolphins second try; it was Teteh who was again the provider and this duo has now scored five tries in two games between them.
However, the conversion was waved away again and the Tigers were clinging to a slender 12-10 lead. It stayed that close for almost the entire second half until a 79th minute blindside play by the Tigers saw Connor Carey cross the chalk.
On the last tackle and, with everyone expecting the kick, the ever-alert Tom Butterfield sensed a gap to his right and a short sharp pass to Carey allowed the centre to spear through and seal the game.
After the game, Tigers coach Scott Sipple said he was impressed with the way his side performed the past few weeks.
“We showed resilience and toughness in the second half and kept turning up and turning up for each other,” he said.
“We haven't been far away the last two weeks and it was good to see the attitude paying off.”
Next week, the Dolphins return to Dolphin Oval to take on the Townsville Blackhawks while the Tigers are at home to the Northern Pride on the Channel 9 (QLD) TV game.
EASTS TIGERS 18 (Linc Port, Gerard McCallum, Conor Carey tries; Billy Walters 3 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 10 (Jonus Pearson 2 tries; Joshua Beehag goal) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.