There were a number of classy individual performances to accompany their teams large scorelines in Round 5 of the Mal Meninga Cup, with David Fifita producing a hat-trick to continue his dominance and sit atop the try scorers charts with seven tries.
He is accompanied there by Tweed Seagulls halfback Tom Dearden (pictured above in Round 1) who scored an incredible five tries in his side’s 72-6 win over the Townsville Blackhawks.
In the point scorer’s standings, Ezra Coulston was everywhere for his side on the weekend, scoring a personal haul of 24 points in Souths Logan’s resounding 68-0 win over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls to sit second in the point scorer’s standings on 62 points trailing Norths captain Corey Paix on 66.
With the Mal Meninga competition reaching its penultimate round, this week’s games see a number of teams in finals contention facing off with Ipswich hosting the Mackay Cutters on Saturday at North Ipswich Reserve, Burleigh hosting the Western Mustangs at Beaudesert JRLFC and Central Queensland travelling down to Davies Park to take on a sizzling Magpies side on Sunday.
Round 5 wrap - Capras too classy for the Jets
The CQ Capras kept their slim finals hopes alive and secured their second win of the season with a gritty 26-14 win over the Ipswich Jets at Maurie Webb Park last Saturday.
In a round that saw a number of lopsided results in the Mal Meninga Cup, it would be the Capras who would produce a strong defensive display to defy the theme of large score lines across the round to win in challenging conditions.
The Capras had the advantage of a strong wind in the first half and it would be captain Liam Grant who gave his side an early converted try lead before Ipswich centre Brad Zampech would put the visitors on the board in the 20th minute, using some neat footwork to stand up his opposite number and cross out wide to make it 6-4 to the hosts.
Ben Farr ensured the Capras would head into the halftime break with the lead when he crossed in the 25th minute to make the scores 12-4.
However, soon after the resumption of play, Ipswich winger Nathan Stephensen touched down to put the game back in the balance at 12-10.
With the visitors looking to have gained the ascendency against their CQ opponents, Capras centre Harrison McIndoe wrested the game back for the hosts with two tries in the space of eight minutes giving his side a 20-10 lead.
The tough conditions meant points were difficult to come by, but there were signs of life for the Jets when Stephensen crossed for his second try to close the gap to six points, but it would all be in vein as Grant capped off a nice win scoring in the 65th minute to secure the result for the Capras.
With such a large geographic diversity of clubs who play in the QRL’s state-based competitions; the demands and rigours of football in a rugby league heartland such as Central Queensland are often different to those faced in the city.
Capras coach Tony Wilkinson insisted that finding the balance between football and other commitments such as work, or study was pivotal to avoid overloading players and he believed the program in place at the Capras was working well.
“We’ve got a genuine care for the welfare of these kids because we have half of the kids still in school and the other half joining the workforce for the first time, so we need to make sure they don’t get too overloaded.
“What we’ve done as a club is look to lighten the load on these kids by having one quality session per week with an opposed on Friday night and they are really enjoying it,” Wilkinson said.
With much of the squad made up of a combination of local players and those who travel from surrounding areas such as Gladstone, Wilkinson believed a competition like the Mal Meninga Cup provided a level of play that stood to improve his players.
“It benefits our kids because their playing quality opposition each week and one thing I’ve noticed is that regional kids will always rise to the occasion, so I think playing in a competition like the Mal Meninga Cup not only helps them with their football, but it helps them with life off the field as well,” Wilkinson said.