Round 1 of the newly revamped Brisbane Second Division competition kicked off on Saturday with a host of games being played across the city.
With the new BRL competition also kicking off, it was business as usual for all other clubs involved who will again contest this year’s trophy.
Reigning premiers Bulimba Valleys travelled to Logan Brothers to kick-start the Premier Grade competition and it was a red hot Bulimba side that stamped their authority as front runners this season with a 32-10 win over the Leprechauns at Logan’s Civic Park.
Bulimba, captain/coached by the ever present Cameron Joyce, had his side well composed throughout the match and got on the scoreboard early with fleet footed winger Jai Crawford finishing strongly in the corner to go to an early 4-0 lead in the sixth minute.
With Smith, one of the best goalkickers in the competition in recent years converting from the sideline, it was the Bulldogs who were making inroads early.
In sweltering humid conditions, both sets of forwards were struggling early in the searing heat, however this did not detract both packs giving each other a warm welcome in the defence department. Bulimba lead by barnstorming prop Tai Betham and his counterparts in Adam Kambouris and lock James Mason were simply brilliant up the middle and made Logan pay with some flimsy defence early on in the game.
However not to be outdone Logan hit straight back in the 17th minute when brilliant Logan five eighth Michael Dodi fired out a pass under pressure to his centre Henry Cope who made no mistake in touching down in the corner to trail 6-4. With Jarrod Kendall missing the tough conversion the score remained the same.
By this stage though, the Bulldogs were still punching holes in the Logan defence and a well-deserved try to Tai Betham under the posts was to further increase the scoreline. Smith converted the easiest of goals and the Bulldogs were now cruising at 12-4.
Logan gave away some silly penalties and this resulted in a kick at goal right in front of the sticks on the stroke of halftime to Bulimba and again halfback Jai Smith made no mistake to increase the score to 14-4.
Bulimba started the second half in fine style with prop Kambouris going over in the 44th minute under the posts after a neat pass from hooker Noonan to shoot out to an 18-4 lead. Kambouris would be the hero again for the Bulldogs after crashing over close to the line to go over under the sticks after some good lead up work by Joyce whose experience was showing all throughout the match.
With Logan still hanging in there though, credit must be given for their willingness to still compete in the atrocious conditions and with lock Chris Turner dishing out some punishing hits, Logan were also well served by towering prop Paeai Talakai who was also putting on the granite like defence.
The visitors still had enough petrol in the tank to see Bulldogs centre Adam Oorschort go in comfortably after slicing through some tired Logan defence to see the score now 30-4. Smith still nailing the easy conversions had the Bulldogs in a commanding lead at 32-4.
Despite being under the pump for most of the second half, Logan would get the last try of the game in the 77th minute after some brilliant attacking play with centre Cope who would go in for his second of the afternoon taking three Bulimba players over with him to score. Kendall converted magnificently from the sideline but it is a true testament to the Bulimba side who are not triple grand final winners in a row for nothing running out winners 32-10.
In the Open 1 South game also played at Civic Park, Logan hosted new indigenous side the Logan City Hawks in a bruising encounter that saw the Leprechauns victorious with a comfortable 48-10 win. The Hawks showed glimpses of some brilliant attacking football throughout the game, but were run down by a more enthusiastic Logan side who ran riot up the middle to notch up a well-deserved win.
The Leprechauns were best served by lock Ron Maiava, Reece Jansen and hooker and captain Ben Kelly who was tireless throughout the match. Tries to Logan by Kelly, Talatalia, Higgins and Vaa would set the tone for a whitewash and made it difficult for the Hawks to recover in the sweltering heat.
In many respects that summed up the Hawks afternoon, putting themselves under unnecessary pressure throughout the game that saw them rack up the penalties. Never the less, full credit to Logan, who played some well-structured football and did it in style in front of a bumper crowd.
The Hawks did give their supporters something to cheer about with some flashy brilliance by fullback Ronald Cora who was simply outstanding and halves Josh Costello and Arron Coolwell who also tried hard against the more youthful Logan side.
Final score Logan Brothers 48 Logan City Hawks 10.