Two weeks of frustration was relieved at Tapout Energy Stadium yesterday as the Easts Tigers ran all over a flat Sunshine Coast Falcons on their way to a comprehensive 60-12 win.
The Tigers emerged from the last two weeks believing that they had had every chance to win both games had they done more of the little things right. With steely determination painted across the faces of the Tigers players - it was clear from the start that there was to be no repeat performance this weekend.
The Falcons came in to the match with an unsettled line up with key playmaker Ben Hampton, centre Hymel Hunt and former Australian Test prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs all missing. The absence of Learoyd-Lahrs robbed the match of the mouth-watering prospect of the clash between the old bull and young up and comer Christian Welch.
It only took eight minutes for the Tigers to get on the board with Richie Kennar scoring the first try of the day, he also scored the last, when he followed up a big Dean Britt break down the middle of the field, took the inside pass and scored.
The tries came at regular intervals after that as Nona, Dane Hogan, Francis Tualau and Cameron Munster all got over the chalk. Welch was very strong on the charge and showed some deft touches when passing the ball.
Grant Giess continued with the form he has displayed since his return from injury, both running to the line, kicking (which he did superbly for Nona to score on the 10th minute) and driving his team around the field.
At 28-0, the game was gone for the Falcons. However, Tigers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen was not satisfied and after the break, his charges racked up the pressure and another 32 points before the referee called time.
Munster’s attacking prowess was on display again in this match as he showed all the attributes of his amazing ability. Little more needs to written about Cameron, we just need to sit back and enjoy the privilege of seeing him in full flight. Tommy Butterfield was superb for the Tigers in the second half, while captain Hogan was back near his best form, particularly running on the right edge.
Whilst the Tigers scored plenty of points, it was their defence that put them in the positon to do so. Time and again Falcons runners were sent reeling backwards by two and three Tigers defenders. On a number of occasions the Falcons were forced in to errors by punishing defence. It was these errors that led to the scrums that the Tigers worked off to score the aforementioned tries.
For the Falcons; captain Ryan Hansen, halfback Jake Turpin and James Ackerman were the best; with the three of them trying all day. However simply did not have the support around them to be able to make things happen. Sam Young soared high late in the second half to grab a perfectly positioned Turpin kick. Hansen ran hard all day and a typically tough run got the Tigers back peddling before Mboya Adams also launched a big run which allowed Billy Brittain so scoot over from dummy half for their second try.
After the match coach Ingebrigtsen said he was really pleased with his core group of players.
“They are the ones who have turned things around today. We haven’t put our positions to win often enough lately, but today we did,” he said.
EASTS TIGERS 60 (Richie Kennar 2, Eddie Tautali 2, Matt Duffie 2, Cameron Munster, Michael Kai, Shaun Nona, Tommy Butterfield, Dane Hogan tries; Shaun Nona 8 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Sam Young, Billy Brittain tries; Ryan Hansen 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. Christian Welch 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Liam McDonald 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Dean Britt 13. Troy Giess 14. Francis Tualau 16. Foisa Peni 17. Billy Walters 18. Jake Foster
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Sam Young 2. Young Tonumaipea 3. Travis Robinson 20. Jay Lobwein 5. Tony Tumusa 6. David Oakes 7. Jake Turpin 8. Sam Satogi 9. Billy Brittain 10. Ryan Hansen (c) 11. Joe Stimson 12. Jye Ballinger 13. James Ackerman 14. Travis Long 15. Johnny Vuetibau 16. Mboya Adams 17. Ricky Shaxson