The Redcliffe Dolphins snapped a two-game losing streak in style, defeating the Central Queensland Capras 42-6 in Clermont in Round 20.
In Round 20 of the Intrust Super Cup, both sides made the journey west as part of this year’s ‘Get in the Game’ Country Week, bringing much joy to the passionate rugby league locals who haven’t seen ISC footy in Clermont since 2013.
Both teams had a vengeance to win the match with last-round losses to Mackay (Capras) and Wynnum (Redcliffe) and with only five weeks until the finals, both were ready to throw everything at the match in the hope of securing the ever-so crucial two competition points.
The Capras were hit with an early blow after four minutes with five-eighth Reece Baker leaving the field with a knee injury.
This saw a reshuffle with Krys Freeman replacing Baker in the halves and young Billy Gilbert coming off the bench to fill the vacant hooker role.
It was error-free in the first nine minutes with both sides working hard to crack the defensive line, but in the 10th minute, Redcliffe’s Tom Opacic found a hole in the right edge and crossed the line to record the Dolphins’ first points.
Curtis Johnson bagged the first try of his double 12 minutes later, following a well-weighted chip from Tyson Gamble to the left edge, extending the lead to 10-0.
Troy Giess was next to score four minutes later, beating the Capras for speed with a backline movement down the left edge.
14-0 down after 27 minutes, the Capras struck more trouble as Baker returned to the field, only to be forced off again 30 seconds later due to injury, using up a further two interchanges which proved crucial in the backend of the game.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Capras with 10 minutes to go in the first half as Gilbert crossed the line, much to the delight of his new cheer squad, keeping the Capras in the contest at 14-6.
Just before halftime, Opacic once again found some space on the right, beating Nathan Bassani to record his second try of the game and make the miracle comeback even harder for the Capras.
Only down by 12 points heading into the break, the Capras were still in the contest and needed to be the first to score in the second stanza, but after failing to complete their first two sets of six, Redcliffe starved the home side of the ball and pressured the defensive line.
Despite the tremendous effort, the Capras made crucial errors and defensive mistakes in the back end of the second half, allowing the Dolphins to score four converted tries in the space of 12 minutes to seal the deal.
The Dolphins were outstanding right across the park with the forwards laying the platform for their centres Thompson Teteh and Opacic to run amok on both edges. Zach Strasser’s efforts both in attack and defence were also a key to the Dolphins’ dominance, earning him the man of the match.
Despite the heavy loss, the Capras should be proud of their efforts in Clermont. Some big minutes were played by forwards Oliver Percy and Jack Kavanagh with co-captain Gavin Hiscox also contributing in the backrow, making crucial metres with strong carries.
The crucial win for the Dolphins gets their finals bid back on track, but they will be challenged this Sunday when they face the ladder-leading PNG Hunters at Dolphin Oval.
For the Capras, it’ll be another tough affair this weekend in their attempt to avoid the wooden spoon, facing the in-form Sunshine Coast Falcons at Browne Park on Saturday.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 42 (Tom Opacic 2, Curtis Johnson 2, Troy Giess, Shane Pumipi, Rulon Nutira, Zach Strasser tries; Tyson Gamble 5 goals) defeated CQ CAPRAS 6 (Billy Gilbert try; Krys Freeman goal)