Cronin's double lifts Magpies

A double to precocious talent Mitch Cronin has enabled the Souths Logan Magpies to overturn a half-time deficit and consign Sunshine Coast to their 21st consecutive Intrust Super Cup loss in their round 2 clash at Stockland Stadium on Saturday night.

The Falcons were deserved 14-10 leaders at the break but had no answers in the second half as the Josh Hannay-coached Magpies piled on 28 unanswered points.

In other Round 2 games the PNG Hunters continued their unbeaten entry into the Intrust Super Cup with a 24-16 win over Mackay, Ipswich scored a tough 25-18 win over Tweed Heads and the Northern Pride defeated Central Queensland 38-26 in a high-scoring affair.

In the Sunday games Wynnum Manly survived a late scare before upsetting Easts Tigers 32-24 at BMD Kougari Oval and Norths Devils held out Burleigh Bears to remain unbeaten after two rounds, winning a bruising encounter 18-12.

On the Sunshine Coast, the unfortunate Falcons were left to rue two careless mistakes within a 10 minute period after the break that gifted the Magpies two tries, turning a 14-10 half-time lead into a 22-14 deficit.

The Magpies had four Canberra Raiders contracted players in their side after renewing their affiliation with the NRL side for the 2014 season, all of them were heavily involved despite a lacklustre first half by the visitors.

Souths coach Josh Hannay liked what he saw from his Green Machine brigade, with rookie hooker Cronin snaring a double and prop Sam Mataora also crossing the line. Five-eighth Jack Ahearn and former Titans winger Jordan Rapana were also present for the Magpies as they ran in seven tries to three.

“I think there are some real quality players here,” the former Cowboys star said. 

“They fitted in really well for their first hit-out together which was encouraging and they’ll only get better and better from here.”

The Falcons, spurred on by the home crowd, began the contest in spirited fashion and looked good value for their half-time lead, impressing Hannay.

“The Sunny Coast were a really resilient side – the just kept coming,” he said.

“They might not have the rosters of some of the other clubs but one thing I know about them is that they don’t give up and they don’t make it easy.”

Regrettably for the Falcons, they were the ones who didn’t make it easy on themselves, with their two schoolboy errors unravelling an enthusiastic and spirited first half performance.

The first error was an unnecessary pass under pressure by winger Arthur Brown from behind his own goal line, which was gratefully seized upon by Souths’ back-rower Dallas Anderson, handing the visitors the lead for the first time in the match.

From the restart, the Falcons made their second costly blunder by kicking the ball deep over the dead-ball line due to the unwelcome assistance from the prevailing wind, allowing the Magpies to take an almost instantaneous advantage.

Moments later, Magpie David Faamita swooped on the crumbs from a spilt bomb and Luke Archer converted to take the lead out to 22-14 in the 52nd minute.

The Magpies flew away from the Falcons at that point in the contest, bagging another three tries before full-time to secure a comfortable 24-point victory.

“There was a lot about our second half to like,” Hannay said. “We just went out there and kept it fairly simple and stuck to our game plan.

“I guess it’s a good lesson in sticking to the basics and good things will come from it.”

With the Magpies aided by a fresh south-easterly breeze in the first half, it was a surprise when the Falcons were the first to take advantage of the conditions. 

Five-eighth Brett Doherty nailed a perfectly pin-pointed 40/20 kick for the hosts, leaving the Magpies backpedalling and it didn’t take long for the Falcons to capitalise.

Lively halfback David Oakes rolled an impeccably timed grubber behind the try-line for Kyle Van Klaveren, presenting the Falcons with a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.

The Magpies responded through fullback Luke Archer, levelling the score at 6-all in the 18th minute after a wayward kick by the Falcons went out on the full and they paid dearly.

An error by Souths in their own half allowed the Falcons to snatch the lead back, with Arthur Brown athletically offloading to Callum Klein in the next set, taking the score to 10-6 after 22 minutes. 

The see-sawing nature of the first-half continued in the 30th minute when Cronin darted from dummy-half at close range to lock the scoreboard up at 10-all.

Five minutes later the Falcons hit the lead again, with Callum Klein crossing for a double after pouncing on a loose ball from a bomb that the Magpies were unable to defuse.

Kicking into the stiff breeze, Brett Doherty couldn’t direct his conversion between the posts and the Falcons took a 14-10 lead into the break.

SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 38 (Mitch Cronin 2, Luke Archer, Dallas Anderson, David Faamita, Mat Pitman, Sam Mataora tries; Luke Archer 4, Jordan Rapana goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 14 (Callum Klein 2, Kyle Van Klaveren tries; Brett Doherty goal) at Stockland Stadium, Kawana.

Half-time: 14-10 Falcons.