Tigers stalwart Dane Hogan celebrated his 100th Intrust Super Cup game last night and his side helped to celebrate his milestone with a 24-6 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Played at Suzuki Stadium, the first half was an old -fashioned arm wrestle with willing defence from both teams forcing the other into errors. For the Falcons, Tui Kamikamica and Joe Stimson lead the way while for the Tigers Dean Britt, Christian Welch and Matt Zgrajewski were strong all day.
Over-enthusiasm from the Falcons defence that created the opportunity for the Tigers to score what was to be the only try of the half. Two Falcons players came out of the line to try and shut down Daniel Foster, who is looking more dangerous with every game he plays in Tigers colours.
However, the defence did not shut him down and he squeezed out a pass to the centurion Hogan, who in turn released the ball to Cheyse Blair to burst down the grandstand touchline. He found his winger Jeremy Hawkins and got to within 20m of the line before passing to Foster on the inside who eagerly took the pass to score and score under the posts. Billy Walters converted and the halftime score was 6-0.
Former Tigers and current Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen was happy with his teams’ position at half-time, commenting that with the amount of possession and position Easts had in the first half, he felt his team had done well to be within six points.
It took 17 minutes to open the scoring in the second half, but the try when it came was worth the wait. The Tigers drew the Falcons in to the middle of the field before Brentt Warr went left and found Javarn White who had bobbed up in the backline. White showed all his experience to pop the pass to Shane Neumann who went in to extend the Tigers lead to 10-0.
As the half wore on, the Tigers combinations started to jell with White prominent in a number of key plays. Blair finished off a lovely move down the right hand side to score and then White got one himself, a well-deserved reward for a very strong game.
The Falcons finally got on the board in the 70th minute when former Tiger Eddie Tautali slipped a slick pass to fellow former Tiger Jye Ballinger to score. Ryan Hansen converted to take the score 22-6.
Warr then slotted a penalty goal in the dying minutes to settle the final score at 24-6.
At halftime, Tigers coach Scott Sipple asked his charges if they had learnt anything from the game against Tweed Heads and it was clear from their second half performance that they had. Gone were the silly errors and penalties that marked last week’s effort. He would have been particularly pleased with the way his forwards worked as a unit, rolling down field together and dominating the middle of the field.
For the Falcons this was an ‘almost’ performance, the combinations very nearly came together and the passes almost stuck. They showed that when they put it all together they will be a force to reckon with in 2016.
EASTS TIGERS 24 (Daniel Foster, Shane Neumann, Cheyse Blair, Javarn White tries; Billy Walters 3, Brentt Warr goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 6 (Jye Ballinger tries; Ryan Hansen goal) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.
Round 2 match reports: