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Tigers and Magpies stay in BRL finals hunt

The Magpies and Tigers kept their seasons alive with convincing wins in Round 16 of the In Safe Hands Cup last weekend.

With just four rounds left to play before the semi-finals, the Tigers and Magpies are both close enough if good enough, and if last weekend's form is any indicator, both sides have the talent to make a charge.

The Tigers got the job done by travelling to Emerson Park and defeating Valley's 24-6 in a game where the visitors knew defeat could spell the end of their season.

The Diehards, on the other hand, while currently in the top four, needed the points to solidify their spot and hold off the chasing Tigers and Magpies.

The game didn't start well for the home side as the kick-off was allowed to go dead in-goal, but they were able to come away without any damage on the scoreboard on that occasion.

Another kick would lead to the first points in the 25th minute with a line dropout from Valleys going into touch on the full. Easts took the option not to go for the two and the ensuing set of six saw Tigers hooker Jack Walters crash over from dummy half and take a 6-0 lead.

With four minutes remaining in a gruelling first half; the rampaging, redheaded, Valleys skipper Liam Herrington bullocked his way across the chalk at the northern end, throwing a super dummy followed by a hit-and-spin locking up the scores at halftime.

After the break, Easts centre Connor Carey took a penalty tap from 38m out, busted through some soft tackles and went off to score an unconverted try, putting the Tigers back in front.

The backs were again looking after the forwards for Easts as fullback Brett Kelly broke through close to the line, offloading to prop Harry Pondekas for the big fella to add another try to his tally for 2018.

The Tigers had now stretched the lead to 10, and with 11 minutes remaining, they put the game to bed. Prop forward Anton Iaria smashed through from 20m out to go over under the cross bar.

A penalty goal capped off what was in the end a comprehensive 24-6 win for the Tigers, with the Diehards sure to be looking over their shoulder as Easts and Souths are both chasing their spot in the top four.

Elsewhere, the Seagulls made an emphatic statement and moved into second place by thrashing the competition leading Panthers 40-8.

They were assisted by the Souths Magpies who after conceding the first three tries of the game, came from behind to defeat the Redcliffe Dolphins 34-16.

With three wins in their last four appearances, the Magpies are still in contention for a spot in the finals, but like the Tigers, need to keep on winning in the final month of the regular season to stay alive.

In Safe Hands Cup Round 16 results

Tigers 24 (Connor Carey, Anton Iaria, Jack Walters, Harry Pondekas tries; Brayden Torpy 4 goals defeated Diehards 6 (Liam Herrington try; Brett Doherty 1 goal)

Magpies 34 (Henry Pritchard, Luke Archer, Sato Ketia-Opo, Savaan Tahere, Justin Fai, Sam Elliott tries; Sato Ketia-Opo 5 goals) defeated Dolphins 16 (Jeremy Hawkins, Justice Utateo, Sheldon Pitama tries; Reece Brawn 2 goals)

Seagulls 40 (Semisi Ahoafi 2, Josh Hoffman, Kalolo Saitaua, Bradley Mana, Harlan Collins, Matt Milson tries; John Te Reo 6 goals) defeated Panthers 8 (Troy Swift, Jordan Riki tries)

In Safe Hands Cup Ladder   
1. Panthers  37  +35 
2. Seagulls  36  +80 
3. Dolphins  36  +73 
4. Diehards  30  -66 
5 Tigers  27  +59 
6. Magpies  26  -181 

* John Devine is a QRL correspondent covering the BRL A Grade competition