Tigers clawing their way out of trouble
The mid-season revival of the Easts Tigers continues, with Scott Sipple's kitties beating the PNG Hunters 30-12 at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.
After losing seven of their first 10 games of the season, the Tigers have now notched a combined 84 points in their last two games and allowed just 28 in defence.
Although the Tigers conceded first points via a penalty to Watson Boas in the 11th minute, they went on to score the first four tries for a 20-2 lead after 44 minutes of the contest.
While it's always a long bow to say any one player can determine the fate of a team, it does seem more than coincidence that the return of Patrick Kaufusi has aligned with the past two wins.
Kaufusi, younger brother of Queensland Origin debutant-in-waiting Felise, was a tower of strength for the Tigers in the opening rounds, continually driving the Coorparoo side forward.
While Easts are packed with numerous accomplished footballers – Brodie Croft and Cheyse Blair among them – the difference a non-stop, aggressive forward makes cannot be underestimated.
Kaufusi, 24, pumped out a full 80 minutes on Saturday in his return to the line-up as Easts swapped places with the Hunters and moved into ninth spot, at least temporarily.
In just his second Intrust Super Cup appearance, young forward Michael Egan scored for the Tigers in another positive sign.
PNG had injury compounding upon insult, with fullback Adex Wera removed with 14 minutes left on the clock due to a head injury assessment (HIA).
The convincing loss ends a purple patch for the defending premiers, who had racked up three wins in a row against Townsville, Wynnum Manly and the Central Queensland Capras.
Next week Easts face Townsville at Jack Manski Oval at 5pm Saturday, while PNG hosts Mackay Cutters at 3pm Sunday at the National Football Stadium.
EASTS TIGERS 30 (Jarrod McInally 2, Linc Port 2, Michael Egan, Conor Carey tries; Brodie Croft 3 goals) def PNG HUNTERS 12 (Thompson Teteh, Watson Boas tries; Watson Boas 2 goals) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.