ACU and the Griffith Dragons have opened the new $2 million facility at Australian Catholic University in style with an amazing Round 7 match of the Universities Rugby League Queensland competition last night.
In a game where the lead changed three times in the final six minutes, a try to replacement forward Troy Simkin with two minutes remaining allowed ACU to sneak home 23-22.
It was a classic match, with the dangerous attack of ACU only held at bay by the staunch defence of the Dragons.
ACU half Geoff Fabila was the star early, scoring two 50m tries in the first half to snag a 10-6 lead at halftime.
The teams then traded tries after the break before a Fabila field goal with 12 minutes remaining looked to have stolen a winning 17-10 break.
But the Dragons countered brilliantly, with tries to Emmanuel Kiddie and Hale Vaihu giving the Dragons a 22-17 lead with six minutes left.
But after Simkin powered his way over, Fabila had an easy conversion to sneak his side home.
The win catapulted ACU to the outright competition lead, but the Dragons went home with the knowledge they can compete with any team in the upcoming finals.
The Griffith Gold Coast Panthers have sounded their own warning to the competition from the bottom of the ladder with a shock defeat of Griffith Logan Redbacks.
The blinding pace of centre Michael Balanda broke the game open and the Panthers pinched a 12-4 halftime lead on Logan’s home ground.
They had done the same thing against the Hounds the previous week before being run down.
It wasn’t going to happen this time as Cody Feltham’s perfect five-from-five conversions helped the Panthers to a 30-24 win.
The victory re-energises their season, with the Panthers now just two points off the top four with three rounds remaining.
At Bishop Park, the University of Queensland Hounds ensured they jumped up the ladder with victory in a see-sawing match.
They beat the Queensland University of Technology Trouts 30-24 in game where the lead changed hands several times.
The Hounds were up 18-14 at halftime, but two tries straight after halftime gave the Trouts a 24-18 lead.
But the Hounds closed well, a try to hooker Keegan Parker in the dying minutes and a penalty goal sealing the result, despite two earlier tries from Parker’s opposite Jayden Trace.
The competition will take a break next week for the Ekka holiday and return on August 17.
On that night, the Dragons will host the Redbacks, the Trouts will travel down the Gold Coast and the Hounds will be at home to ACU.
URLQ Round and Results
GC Panthers 30 (Michael Balanda 2, Jordan Binge, Bailey Harding, Wade Hyland tries; Cody Feltham 5 goals) defeated Griffith Logan Redbacks 24 (Cyprian Manutai 2, Eesley Lianna, Andrew Taukolo, Phillip Afamasaga tries; Crus Afamasaga 2 goals) at Griffith Logan University, Meadowbrook.
ACU 23 (Geoff Fabila 2, Khaleel Waqar, Troy Simkin tries; Fabila 2, Leon Yeatman goals; Fabila field goal) defeated Griffith Dragons 22 (Kulima Panapa, Omair Khan, Emmanuel Kiddie, Hale Vaihu tries; Jesse Domic 3 goals) at Australian Catholic University, Banyo.
UQ Hounds 30 (Ben Tassell, Oscar Pannifax, Keegan Parker, Kane Grubb, Jake Tkatchenko tries; Chris Hansen 5 goals) defeated QUT Trouts 24 (Jayden Trace 2, Daniel Smith, Jack Watson, Jake Eisele tries; Blake Trace 2 goals) at Bishop Park, Nundah.
17 points – ACU (+31)
15 points – Griffith Dragons (+21), UQ Hounds (-8)
13 points – QUT Trouts (+10), Griffith Logan Redbacks (+8)
11 points – Griffith GC Panthers (-58)