Mt Gravatt Eagles cemented their spot in the top five of the Open 3 South competition with a 38-12 thumping of Beenleigh Juniors at Allan Innes Oval.
Considering that the Lions had previously beaten them in round two of the competition, it was a fitting result for the Eagles who now sit just above Beenleigh on for and against.
This competition might be a few tiers down from Premiers, but it certainly had enough action and entertainment value for the large crowd that nestled in for the afternoon.
The Eagles started strongly with hard-working dummy half Stuart Larsen first to score with a brilliant little scoot out of dummy half that caught the Lions napping on the blindside.
The blustery chilly conditions would play havoc with both goalkickers throughout the game and the sideline conversion from Ricky Biles was waved away.
Mt Gravatt’s Ricky Biles, Gideon Ama and Mitch Pikimaui were outstanding.
Biles’ general play kicking was textbook and the determination of both Ama and Pikimaui was simply brilliant.
It would be the rampaging Pikimaui who would be next to score for the Eagles as he tore apart the Lions defence to crash over beside the posts.
Biles slotted the easy conversion having Mt Gravatt shoot to a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
However, Beenleigh were also making the crowd sit up and take notice, with some stellar performances by five-eighth Ash Warner, hooker Tori Tito and lock Cameron Paul.
Warner was Beenleigh’s best by a country mile. He set up the Lions first try with a beautiful pass to halfback Aubrey Evans who chipped for himself, regathered and score a fantastic solo try.
The visitors however, demonstrated a new found resolve but all this good work was quickly undone as some sloppy handling saw Mt Gravatt’s Ama scoop up the loose ball and race away to score.
Biles again missing the conversion in the windy conditions.
The Lions received a get out of jail free card right on the stroke of halftime, as the Eagles raided their line one last time. A desperate lunge by hooker Larsen saw him held up and the Eagles went into the break leading 14-6.
With the temperature now plummeting for the start of the second half, the players were quick to warm up with some ferocious tackling by both sides. Beenleigh’s Paul and Andrew Smith were rock solid and for the Eagles it was Pikimaui and Callaghan who rolled up the sleeves.
The try of the match did however belong to the visitors. Lion’s playmaker Paul stepped off his right foot and put in a nice chip over the Mt Gravatt’s fullback’s head and found flying winger Rod Chadfield who took the bounce in one arm to regather and score under the posts.
Evans made no mistake with the conversion and the Lions had hit back trailing 14-12.
But just as things were looking good for the Lions, at times they were their own worst enemies and paid the price with some terrible handling errors that would see the Eagles replacement player Kyle Ludgater pick up the scraps and go in to score under the posts.
Back-to-back tries within the space of two minutes for the Eagles, saw a backline move started by five eighth Dan Faughey who found halfback Biles in support. Biles quick thinking chip ahead saw hooker Larsen beat the Lions fullback to gather the bouncing ball and dived over to score.
Biles added the conversion to see Mt Gravatt edging out to 26-12.
With Warner and Paul playing out of their skins for the Lions, it was now a near impossible feat for the tired Beenleigh side to come back. This would be evident when Eagles hooker Larsen burrowed his way over again for his hat trick.
Biles found his mark with the goalkicking putting Mt Gravatt out to a comfortable 32-12 lead with 10 mins remaining.
With the crowd still enjoy the match, there would be one last hurrah for them to celebrate and another barnstorming run by Ludgater saw him cross for the Eagles in the dying minutes.
A winning margin of 26 points did not reflect the difference between the two sides over the course of the entire game. In fact it showed all and sundry in attendance that the lower divisions in this competition are in fact just as entertaining as their big brothers.
Fulltime: Mt Gravatt 38 def Beenleigh Juniors 12