The University of Queensland Hounds have sounded an early warning by beating last year’s minor premiers in the opening round of the URLQ on Tuesday.
A triple header involving all six teams was played at Bishop Park on Anzac Day to open the Universities Rugby League Queensland season, including a moving Last Post ceremony involving four teams between the first and second games.
But once the action started, it was the Hounds who stood out under new coach Scott Barker, although it took a late try from big centre Mitch Chad to seal the win over the Griffith Dragons.
The Hounds led 8-4 at halftime after tries to Braydon Lamb and Keegan Parker, but two tries in nine minutes from clever Dragons’ half Jess Domic gave his side a 16-8 lead.
But a Patty Koch try set up a big finish, with Chad crashing over with three minutes remaining to snatch an 18-16 win.
In the opening game, Australian Catholic University defeated a plucky Griffith Gold Coast Panthers 34-16.
ACU grabbed an early 16-4 lead, but two tries to Panthers’ prop Terry McMahon got it back to 16-12.
Tries from both sides made it 22-16, but a four-pointer from Connor Morrissey – brother of man of the match Declan Morrissey – ended the contest, ACU winning 34-16.
In the final match, reigning premiers Queensland University of Technology Trouts were too strong for Griffith Logan Redbacks by 22-10.
The Trouts led 12-6 at halftime and extended through Ben Doyle to make it 16-6.
But surprisingly elusive Redbacks’ forward Javarn Ratu-Daniel stepped over from 40m out to bring it back to 16-10 with 10 to go.
Trouts’ stocky five-eighth Blake Trace sealed it with an individual effort with six minutes left, second rower Owen McCarron the best on the park.
On Wednesday in Round 2, QUT will host the Hounds, ACU travel to Nathan to play the Dragons, and the Panthers host the Redbacks in a southern derby.
URLQ ROUND 1 SCORES
ACU 34 (Rowan Fittock, Declan Morrissey, Drew Ballard, Omair Khan, Connor Morrissey, Jack Peoples tries; Khan 4, Ballard goals) defeated GC Griffith Panthers 16 (Terry McMahon 2, Adam Pillidge, Henry Dickman tries) at Bishop Park.
UQ Hounds 18 (Mitch Chad, Patty Koch, Braydon Lamb, Keegan Parker tries; Parker goal) defeated Griffith Dragons 16 (Jess Domic 2, Jayden Marrott tries; Domic 2 goals) at Bishop Park.
QUT Trouts 22 (Lachlan Smith, Robert McCafferty, Ben Doyle, Blake Trace tries; Trace 3 goals) defeated Grffith Logan Redbacks 10 (Javarn Ratu-Daniel 2 tries; AJ Mulitalo goal) at Bishop Park.