THE Griffith University Dragons showed they were the real deal after producing a shock upset in the Round 1 triple header of the University Rugby League Queensland competition on Monday.
In front of a big crowd at Bishop Park, the Dragons came from 6-0 down to defeat last year’s minor premiers QUT 16-6.
With front rower Sinaumea Taufo producing the punch up front, the Dragons rallied to start URLQ season in the best way possible.
Taufo scored a try while lock Jesse Domic chimed in with two goals.
The UQ Hounds took the game away from the Gold Coast Griffith Uni Panthers early with a 22-0 first-half onslaught that included two tries from Kylan Lovai.
But the Panthers steadied the ship at the break and eventually won the second half.
Two tries to speedster Jordan Swan netted the Panthers 10 points, but the Hounds prevailed in a solid opening for a 26-10 victory for their coach Marcel Norohna.
In the final match of the day, new Australian Catholic University coaches Jharal Yow Yeh and Justin Hodges showed they had recruited some off-season talent.
Twelve months ago, three-time defending premiers Griffith Uni Logan Redbacks beat ACU 48-0.
This time, the reigning champs were made to work for their points, with only eight points separating the two teams in a 26-18 thriller.
The Redbacks led early and looked to have ACU’s measure until a comeback orchestrated by halfback Geoff Fabila.
Fabila’s speed netted a try that helped close ACU to two points behind, before the Redbacks showed their class by scoring a sealer through Alapati Lemeulu with seven minutes left.
Round 2 of the competition will be played on Wednesday, May 4, with the Dragons to host ACU at Griffith Nathan campus, and the Redbacks to head down the M1 to Parkwood to meet the Panthers.
The Uni of Queensland Hounds will host QUT at St Lucia.
URLQ ROUND 1 SCORES
GU Dragons 16 (Patrick Robinson, Sinaumea Taufo, Connor Bohan tries; Jesse Domic 2 goals) defeated QUT Trouts 6 (Blake Trace try; Trace goal) at Bishop Park.
UQ Hounds 26 (Kylan Lovai 2, Severin Charpignou, Keegan Parker, Stuart Kinsella, Jahmayne Codwell tries; Brendan Brennan goal) defeated Gold Coast Panthers 10 (Jordan Swan 2 tries; Cody Feltham goal) at Bishop Park.
Griffith Logan Redbacks 26 (Te-Ama Atuatahi, Shaun Urquhart, Alapati Lemeulu, Senetonori Tamala tries; Brando Va’aulu 5 goals) defeated ACU 18 (Dom Hanley, Geoff Fabila, Matthew Bakham tries; Leon Yeatmanjnk 2, Geoff Fabila goal) at Bishop Park.