The three clubs north of the Brisbane River ran out comfortable winners over their southern counterparts in the opening round of the BRL In Safe Hands Cup.
Valleys, the Dolphins and the Panthers all got wins (over the Tigers, Magpies and Seagulls respectively) in an exciting opening round.
On Sunday afternoon, West Brisbane Panthers travelled to BMD Kougari Oval for their season opening encounter and walked away victorious, 22-12 over the Seagulls.
It was a tough slog through the middle of the field and typical of opening round clashes, it had a fair bit of scrappy play. But in the end, it was an impressive first up win for the Panthers.
“I thought we controlled the game for the majority of it,” Panthers coach Wayne Weekes said after the match.
“I’m pretty confident we can get a lot better than that. It’s a great group that worked hard to get there and they earnt their right to win it.”
Weekes was full of praise for hooker Mikaere Beatie and prop Hemi Mullen.
“Beattie was sharp and got through a very good work rate defensively. Hemi has been working hard trying to make that Cup side (Norths); he’s been in great form the past three games.”
The Seagulls took it to the Panthers through the middle with a Goliath-like forward pack. However, the first try came the way of the nimbler Seagulls, with winger Harlan Collins scoring from a cross-field kick just two and a half minutes into the game.
Wests were on the scoreboard shortly after when Michael Molo engaged in a wrap around with hooker Beattie. Molo bullocked his way through four of the Seagulls defenders to square the ledger.
They took the lead when five-eighth Logan Spannder pounced on a Beattie grubber kick and led 12-6 at the break.
Off-season recruits Sunny Monroe and Kyle Van Klaveren combined to send fellow recruit and former Dolphin Shaun Rees over shortly after the break.
The Seagulls hit back after a pin point kick from Ben Jackson led to a Jacob Tonge try, but an error from a 20-metre restart gave Wests the opportunity to close the game out.
Monroe would swoop on the mistake and found Zach Strasser in support to take the final score out to 22-12.
In other first round games, the Dolphins defeated Souths 44-10 at Davies Park and defending premiers Valleys came from behind to defeat Easts 34-20.
IN SAFE HANDS CUP - ROUND 1 RESULTS
DIEHARDS 34 (Dalton Phillips 2, Tom Collins, Iain Riccardi, Jacob Kelly, Rowan Klein tries; Hayden Lipp 5 goals) def TIGERS 20 (Brett Kelly 4 tries, Brett Kelly 2 goals)
DOLPHINS 44 (Obed Kahwin 3, Trai Fuller 2, Jordan Pinnock, Sheldon Pitama, Curtis Johnston tries; Reece Braun 6 goals) def MAGPIES 10 (Benaiah Bowie, Joe Burchell tries, Joe Burchell a goal)
PANTHERS 22 (Shaun Rees, Logan Spaander, Zach Strasser, Michael Molo tries; Kyle Van Klaveren 2 goals, Kane Zalewski 1 goal) def SEAGULLS 12 (Jacob Tonge, Harlan Collins tries; Ben Jackson 2 goals)
* John Devine is the BRL A Grade correspondent for the QRL