The Redcliffe Dolphins came to Tapout Energy Stadium and did what no other team has managed to do so far this year – beat the Tigers at home, scoring a 19-12 win.
It was an important win for the Phins who dug slightly deeper than the Tigers to win a scrappy affair.
The Tigers opened the scoring in only the third minute when Shaun Nona ran to the Redcliffe defensive line, held the ball up and at the last second slipped the pass to a hard-running Jake Foster to crash over on the right edge. Nona converted and the Tigers had the early 6-0 win.
The first 20 minutes were all Tigers as Liam McDonald and Cameron Munster both got heavily involved. One telling McDonald charge took the Tigers to within a metre of the Redcliffe try line and Tom Butterfield very nearly snuck over for the try, but the Redcliffe defence were alert and he was held up.
Redcliffe grew in confidence as the half wore on, with Josh Beehag, Charlie Faingaa and Luke Capewell coming to the fore. In the 23rd minute, a Capewell grubber 5m out from the Tigers line bounced off Donald Malone’s legs and went unclaimed by his team-mates, allowing Tristian Lumley to score the try, which Capewell converted to tie the scores up at 6-6.
That was to be all of the scoring in the first half, though both team threw everything they had at each other.
The Tigers opened the second half as they had the first, on attack and in the fifth minute Redcliffe were penalised for hands in the play-the-ball area, Nona calmly took the two points and the Tigers had regained the lead 8-6.
The second half was a tense, if error-ridden, affair as both teams struggled mightily for the knockout blow, with everyone in the crowd feeling that the next team to score would take the win.
That proved to be the case, and in fact, Redcliffe scored the next two tries; Lumley scoring his second, again off a Dolphins kick that the Tigers defence could not clean up while the second was from Shane Pumipi, who took the ball from the dummy half and darted over on the unguarded right hand side. Capewell converted again and in the blink of an eye, the Dolphins were out to an 18-8 lead.
The Tigers are not a team to run up the white flag and with Dane Hogan leading from the front, they took the fight to the Dolphins. Hogan made some lovely runs on the right hand edge, linking particularly well with Kai. The kicking game of Grant Giess earned the Tigers several repeat sets but it was Richie Kennar scored the last try of the day.
He benefited from some lovely lead up work by Malone who was on the end of some lovely passing from the Tigers backs; putting on an audacious stutter step which put doubt in the Redcliffe defenders minds and that hesitation opened up enough of a gap for him to put Kennar in to the clear and he scored in the scoreboard corner.
With 10 minutes to go, Brady stepped up for the Dolphins and slotted a drop goal to give them an unassailable 19-12 lead and the win.
Dolphins coach Troy Lindsay will take much pleasure from the re-emergence of Capewell as the player he was when he won the Courier Mail player of the year award. He’s not there yet but the signs are promising.
He will also be happy with how much of a team effort this was with Beehag, Lumley, the halves, Trent Richardson, Josh Benjamin and off the bench Harley Aiono and Taylor Brown all making an impact.
Tigers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen will reflect on a frustrating day at the office. All of the ingredients are there and his charges showed that when they put everything together they can do it, but today – they were not able to match it with the Dolphins, going down for their third straight loss.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 19 (Tristan Lumley 2, Shane Pumipi tries; Luke Capewell 3 goals; John Brady field goal) def EASTS TIGERS 12 (Richie Kennar, Jake Foster tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at Tapout Energy Stadium, Langlands Park.
Easts Tigers: 1. Cameron Munster 2. Richie Kennar 3. Michael Kai 4. Eddie Tautali 5. Matt Duffie 6. Shaun Nona 7. Grant Giess 8. Dean Britt 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Liam McDonald 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Francis Tualau 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Foisa Peni 18. Donald Malone
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Josh Beehag 2. Tom Opacic 3. Tristan Lumley 4. Aaron Whitchurch 5. Curtis Johnston 6. John Brady 7. Luke Capewell (c) 8. Charlie Faingaa 21. Shane Pumipi 10. Jon Green 11. Josh Benjamin 12. Anthony Cherrington 13. Trent Richardson 14. Darcy Etrich 15. Tyson Cleal 16. Harley Aiono 17. Taylor Brown