Falcons tame Tigers to remain in finals hunt

The Sunshine Coast remained in the hunt for the Mal finals after producing a second half shutout to secure a strong 34-16 win against the Easts Tigers last Saturday at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.

Despite only being Round 4, the number of teams jockeying for finals positions meant this game shaped as a must-win for the visiting Falcons side and they signalled their intent with two quick tries to captain John McLaughlin and winger Cameron Hanson in the first 10 minutes.

After being starved of the ball for the opening quarter of the game, Easts finally managed to get some possession and responded through centre Sebastian Winters-Chang who scored a first half hat-trick to send the home side into the break with a 16-10 lead.

With windy conditions favouring Sunshine Coast in the second half, they were quick to regain the lead through Harry Wright before tries to Kane Jackson, Aiden Young and Joey Lowe iced a flawless second half for the Falcons.

Coach Jamie Vogler highlighted the improvement in discipline and the aid of a strong wind as key features of their excellent second half display that saw his side keep the host’s scoreless. 

“The wind played a bit of a factor there, so I knew it would favour us and we completed 18 of 20 sets whilst only giving away one penalty in the second half so that’s where we turned it around,” Vogler said.

The Falcons still remain on course for a spot in the semi-finals and despite conceding 52 points in their opening round loss against Burleigh, Vogler said he believed his side’s defence was key to ensuring they were competitive against the top sides heading into the back end of the season.

“We wanted to be in the top three in the competition with our defence, but we started poorly against Burleigh,” he said.

“We are looking to be better there and if we can fire then we will give all these top teams a good run.”

The Falcons will look to keep their season alive when they travel to Toowoomba on Sunday to meet the Western Mustangs at Gold Park.

The Mustangs will be looking to bounce back following a heavy 40-16 loss to the ladder-leading Norths Devils.

Other results from the round saw Souths Logan prevail 34-20 in an entertaining contest against the Bears while in Cairns, the Cutters continued to quietly stake their claims as premiership contenders when they triumphed in wet conditions over the Pride in Cairns. Ipswich kept their unblemished start to the season in tact with a 12-point victory at home over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

Follow all the scores for this weekend’s Round 5 Mal Meninga Cup games with QRL Live.