Souths Sunnybank caused the upset of the round defeating an understrength Beenleigh Pride 46-12 at Woff St Sunnybank.
The win sees the Magpies take outright lead on the ladder on 24 points and they thoroughly deserved their win.
In a fitting gesture to fallen Sunshine Coast Falcons player James Ackerman, both sides took a knee and a minutes silence in a mark of respect before kick-off that received a round of applause from the crowd.
A game that looked good on paper didn’t translate to the field as Sunnybank ran riot over a depleted Beenleigh who were missing some strike weapons on the paddock.
Take nothing away from Sunnybank though, this side is good, real good. The Magpies took it to the Pride from the get go and they got in the Pride’s face with some heavy handed defence and a willingness to run the ball outwide.
The Magpies got on the scoresheet early when powerhouse second rower Eddie Tuafafo crashed in besides the sticks to open Sunnybank’s account.
Not three minutes later, interchange forward Jake Wong was next to go in to score as he stepped inside some flimsy Pride defence to take the Magpies out to a 10-0 lead.
A shell-shocked Pride were out on their feet after the early onslaught from the Magpies, but true to their commitment as a tight unit, it took some clever play by five-eighth Craig Chapman whose grubber kick was beautifully weighted to find captain Rhys Gorman who collected the ball to score under the sticks.
Sunnybank nearly scored right on the halftime hooter as centre Michael Pouhila dashed down the sideline but was perfectly bundled in to touch by the Pride with the scoreboard reading 10-6 Sunnybank.
The second half could only be described as all one way traffic. With the odds now against the Pride, Sunnybank went straight for the throat and piled on try after try in a demolition job that saw some magnificent tries scored by the home side.
Tuafafo again was causing havoc up the middle for the Magpies as his easy meters found a willing and able Pouhila who raced away to score another South’s Sunnybank try.
Michael Gunthorpe beautifully adding the sideline conversion.
Sunnybank had now stepped it up a notch. The Pride, in a true testament of bravery, made the Magpies work for their points with some immortal strength led by damaging prop Jermaine Atutolu and busy hooker Scott Freidrichs who were simply brilliant in defence.
After sustaining a mountain of defence in their own tryline though, the Pride simply had no answer to some rampaging runs by the Magpies and two back to back tries by Max Toka and Kaustio Magele further added points to an already high scoring match now reading 28-6.
But credit has to be given where credit is due and at 28-6 looked a hapless task for the Pride, but enter Craig Chapman and Rhys Gorman. Both players add a new dimension when faced with a difficult task.
Pride five eighth Craig Chapman is simply a class above. An ex-Intrust Super Cup player, Chapman’s kicking in general play ups the ante each week for Beenleigh and in this game was no different. He has the ball on a string at times.
Captain Rhys Gorman is another player with skill. His on field leadership is nothing short of inspirational and his all round game is superb with an unlimited bag of tricks.
Both players tried hard on a losing side.
Souths Sunnybank’s next try was superb. Inspired by halfback Matt Young, the Magpies struck a blow to the down and out Pride as the ball swung right across the backline to find centre Gunthorpe who scored outwide.
With Gunthorpe again landing a beautiful sideline conversion, the centre is an absolute gun goalkicker and one of the standouts in this competition.
Ashley Huth impressive at fullback, was another Magpie to muscle in on the tryscoring action and was gifted a beautiful one handed pass by Magale to see the Magpies in once again.
Pride coach Luke Deller could not hide his disappointment after the game.
“We had a few boys out today with injuries and were beaten by the better side. We have to regroup and have a bit of work ahead of us, but we have a great bunch of blokes and I know we can hit back” he said.
But this was Sunnybank’s day and the calibre of Toka, Magale, and Gunthorpe et al, truly get a standing ovation from this reporter as they were simply outstanding. Gunthorpe will have to go close for player of the year, but with the field so close and a multitude of skill from all across the division, it will be anyone’s guess.
Sunnybank ran out deserving winners 46-12.