With three wins from their opening three games, the Sunshine Coast Falcons are well placed to challenge for a finals berth in this year’s Mal Meninga Cup.
Following impressive wins over the Northern Pride and Mackay Cutters, the Falcons travelled to Toowoomba last weekend and came away with a hard-fought 26-24 victory.
Brody Riseborough, Cory Parker, Devlin Long, Liam Pedroni and Jacob Scott scored tries for the Falcons, who did just enough to fend off a late surge from the fast-finishing Clydesdales.
The Adam Booth-coached Falcons team will this weekend go in search of win number four when they play the Central Crows at Beerwah.
The Crows had no problems finding the try line last weekend, with Daniel Kirk and Hayden Elsebach notching doubles in their 56-36 victory over the Central Queensland Capras.
But judging by their early form, the Falcons’ defence should be much tougher to crack this weekend.
And if that proves to be the case, the Sunshine Coast could well be sitting in outright first spot at the top of the Pool B Meninga Cup standings by the end of the weekend.
While proud of the team’s promising start to their 2014 campaign, Sunshine Coast Rugby League CEO James Ward said there was a long way to go.
“It’s only the early stages of the competition and no one is getting carried away with what they’ve done so far,” Ward said.
Ward praised coach Booth for his efforts so far this season, along with the development work of Glen Dreger.
Ward said the Falcons were now seeing the results from their development program.
“We’re very proud of how the program is working,” he said.
“We’ve got a Junior Development Board which oversees the program. We’ve seen the success of it in recent seasons with the Under 16s making the semi-finals last year.”
In the other Pool B Meninga Cup game last weekend, Townsville beat the Northern Pride 60-12 with Gideon Mosby-Gela notching a hat-trick of tries.
In Pool A, Redcliffe beat Gold Coast Green 32-16, Wynnum Manly downed Ipswich 36-6, Easts defeated Souths Logan 38-26 and Norths Devils edged out Gold Coast White 24-22.
After three rounds, Norths, Redcliffe, Wynnum Manly and Gold Coast Green lead the competition on four points.
In Pool A of the Connell Cup, the Souths Logan Magpies are setting the early pace after their third win last weekend. The Magpies beat the Easts Tigers 28-14, joining Gold Coast Green, Ipswich and Gold Coast White in the winners’ circle.
Pool B matches saw Toowoomba beat the Sunshine Coast 18-16, Townsville crush the Northern Pride 44-12 and the Central Crows defeat the CQ Capras 26-24.
Townsville hold the outright lead in Pool B on six points, with three teams – Northern Pride, Central Crows and Mackay Cutters – on four.