The CQU Norths Chargers ground out a galvanising 22-20 win over Yeppoon Seagulls in the Rockhampton and District A-Grade Competition at Webb Oval on Saturday night and in doing so keep pace with premiership front-runners Biloela.
Despite being without key personnel in Capras contracted forward Brent Williams and the experienced backline duo of Dallas Williams and Clint Rothery, the Chargers were fortunate to gain the services of former Intrust Super Cup pairing Ian Webster and Russell Webber, along with club veteran Ricky Fuller – all of whom received praise from coach Darren Ferricks for their involvement.
“They were excellent the players that came in tonight, they all stepped up,” Ferricks said
Both teams crossed the stripe twice in a brutal opening 40 minutes where inaccurate goal kicking failed to see either side break a 10-10 deadlock at the break. The Seagulls capitalised on the momentum gained from their opening try to centre Jeff Russell and they momentarily took the lead after hooker Shannon Rupapere regathered a charge down and crossed for his team’s second.
The Chargers hit back when winger Levi Knickel crossed out wide and joined prop Bobby Nona on the scorers sheet, following his rampaging run to dive over under the posts. Prop forwards Nona and Alan Rothery were exceptional for the Chargers with big meters through the middle and essentially laying the platform for the win.
“Our front rowers were awesome tonight - including reserves Dylan Webber and Sam Kitchens, they’re both young but they did some good things at crucial times for us” Ferricks Said
Rothery wasted no time in regaining the lead for the Chargers after the break, scoring just three minutes into the second half while speedster Russell Webber capped off a Billy Slater-esque kick return from fullback Ian Webster to run 50m untouched and extend their lead to 12 points.
However controlling possession and switching focus to a solid defensive line became paramount for the Chargers late in the game as they were forced to hold out a fast finishing Seagulls outfit with only two reserves after losing wingers Levi Knickle and Matt Carlon to knee injuries just before halftime.
Despite late tries to back-rower Sam Madden and a second to Jeff Russell the Seagulls squandered a number of opportunities and fell just short. Coach Jason Green however refusing to use last week’s walk in the park against Fitzroys as an excuse for his side’s poor showing.
“We can’t use last week as an excuse for our performance tonight, I thought we prepared quite well during the week,” Green said
“We had plenty of chances to get the victory at the end.”
The win sees the Chargers join the Panthers atop the ladder after 3 rounds.
In the other Round 3 game the Rockhampton Brothers continued Fitzroy/Gracemere’s woeful run of losses, storming to a powerhouse 42-32 win over the Sharks at Victoria Park.
The return of forward enforcer George Jarrett and CQ Capras contracted halfback Theeran Pearson bolstered a Sharks team desperate to avoid losing three on the trot, however the defending premiers proved too strong.
“I thought we played pretty well for most of the game, still a bit too much dropped ball but our young team held strong. They came at us pretty hard there at the end,” Brothers coach Michael Jenkins said.
Round 3 : Norths 22 def Yeppoon 20, Brothers 42 def Fitzroy/Gracemere 32, Biloela BYE.
Points: Biloela 4, CQU Norths 4, Yeppoon 2, Brothers 2, Fitzroy/Gracemere 0