Falcons surge sinks Tigers
On an emotionally charged night that saw the clubs pay tribute to former team-mates James Ackerman and Grant Giess at Sunshine Coast Stadium, the Falcons made a statement as they despatched the Easts Tigers 26-6.
The Falcons showed they are no pretenders; and that they have the ability, desire and most importantly, the attitude to play finals football in 2016.
However, a scrappy opening 40 was punctuated by errors and penalties, as emotions boiled over repeatedly. The Tigers lost captain Dane Hogan in the 11th minute when a seemingly innocuous tackle on Mark Nicholls left him groggy from a head knock and he took no further part in the game.
Ryley Jacks opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he shrugged off an attempted tackle, stepping around Matt White and finishing a powerful 25m burst beside the posts. Sam Young converted for a 6-0 lead that the Falcons would never relinquish.
Tom Butterfield responded for the Tigers in the 36th minute when he took a run-around pass off Matt Pitman and dashed 15 metres to score under the posts. Brentt Warr converted to take the score to 6-6 at the break. However this was to be the last time the Tigers would trouble the scorer.
The halftime scoreline must have felt like a win to the Tigers, given the amount of possession the Falcons had, especially in their attacking 20m zone.
All of that defensive work caught up with them in the second half though as the Falcons ran over them in the last 20 minutes scoring 16 unanswered points.
The Falcons scored four second-half tries, to Tony Tumusa (45th minute), Paul Ivan (60th and 79th minutes) and Callum Klein in the 60th minute in a completely dominant half of football that would please Falcons fans.
Halfback Jacks's kicking in play and option-taking were superb and Tui Kamikamica and Nafe Seluini both made big yards with ball in hand.
For the Tigers, this was déjà vu as the ghosts from their Burleigh Bears nightmare two weeks ago came calling again.
Matt White was a stand-out, however he lacked support from the rest of his forwards. While they all tried; as a group they lacked the spark they needed to get over the Falcons pack.
The Tigers have seven days to work out how to turn things around before they welcome the Northern Pride to Suzuki Stadium, while the Falcons face what promises to be an intriguing away trip to Townsville.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 26 (Paul Ivan 2, Ryley Jacks, Tony Tumusa, Callum Klein tries; Sam Young 2, Ryan Hansen goals) def EASTS TIGERS 6 (Tommy Butterfield try; Brentt Warr goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.