Falcons win James Ackerman Cup

Emotions ran high at Dolphin Stadium this evening as the Sunshine Coast Falcons took on the Redcliffe Dolphins in the fourth annual James Ackerman Cup.

Following three years in the Dolphins' possession the Ackerman Cup is finally heading to the Sunshine Coast after the Falcons ran away convincing winners, 30-6.

It was three from three for the Sunshine Coast club, as both the Falcons’ Hasting Deering Colts (32-20) and the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup (10-6) sides were successful against their Dolphins counterparts.

“Getting a win against Redcliffe is always a tough ask but to get a win against them at Dolphin Oval has proven a difficult task for many sides over the years," Falcons coach Eric Smith said.

"So, it really was an outstanding result for us.

“It was an outstanding result for the whole club actually, as the Falcons won in all three grades which hasn’t happened in a very long time.”

With success in the early matches, the Falcons Intrust Super Cup side was primed to take home their very first James Ackerman Cup by the time the clock reached 6pm.

Cheers erupted from the healthy crowd at Dolphin Stadium as young Ollie Ackerman led the two teams onto the field clutching the hands of both team captains in a fitting tribute to the much loved Ackers.

Olliver Ackerman walks onto the field, holding the hands of both captains. Photo: QRL Media
Olliver Ackerman walks onto the field, holding the hands of both captains. Photo: QRL Media

Right there was Ollie’s “Uncle Toddy”, Ackerman’s childhood friend and current Falcons halfback, Todd Murphy.

Ackerman and Murphy were both teammates and school friends and Murphy spoke during the week leading into Round 2 about the very special meaning it held for him.

The two sides stood shoulder to shoulder as Redcliffe’s own Rupert Mcall added to the emotion pre-game, with the recital of a poem he had written in honour of Ackerman.

The Ackerman family, with both teams, before the game. Photo: QRL Media
The Ackerman family, with both teams, before the game. Photo: QRL Media

The Dolphins began the match with possession weighing heavily in their favour following three penalties in a row during the home side’s first attacking set.

Despite the early onslaught from a fired-up Dolphins side, the Falcons were able to withstand the consistent pressure on their try line and keep the home side scoreless for much of the match.

Dolphins' Aaron Whitchurch, who played with Ackerman, is tackled. Photo: QRL Media
Dolphins' Aaron Whitchurch, who played with Ackerman, is tackled. Photo: QRL Media

Smith said his side’s repeated denial of scoring opportunities left the opposition frustrated.

“The whole game tonight was built around a really committed defensive effort from everyone in the 17," Smith said.

"I thought our defence was outstanding.

“Despite a lack of football in that first 20 minutes, I thought we really came out on top; Redcliffe put a lot of effort and energy into trying to break the line and we kept turning them away.

“I think we really frustrated them with our urgency in defence and that prevented Redcliffe from being able to play the way they wanted to play.”

Jake Turpin makes a tackle. Photo: QRL Media
Jake Turpin makes a tackle. Photo: QRL Media

Following the early defensive grind, the Falcons were rewarded with the first points of the game following a penalty against Redcliffe for a high tackle right in front of the posts; the score was 0-2 to the Sunshine Coast fourteen minutes into the match.

Then Lachlan Roe, fresh off the interchange bench, barged over in similar fashion to his barn-storming try the previous week, and Todd Murphy successfully converted taking the score to 0-8 with just over 18 minutes left in the first half.

The Falcons celebrate. Photo: QRL Media
The Falcons celebrate. Photo: QRL Media

In the 23rd minute, the Falcons were back on the attack with a nice back line shift putting the ball in the hands of flying Jon Reuben, who flirted with the sideline before delivering a precision kick to fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen who snatched it up to score; Murphy was again successful with his kick taking the score to 14-0.

The Falcons followed up with yet another successful penalty kick in front of the posts just before the break taking the visitors to half time with a 16 point lead.

The second half didn’t start well for the Falcons, after they were caught offside at the kick-off, handing the ball straight back to the home side.

A late shot on kicker Murphy gave the Falcons another gift two points, extending the lead to 18-0,  with 32 minutes left to play in the match.

Early in the second half, Redcliffe had three sets in a row, providing them with a fantastic opportunity at their first try of the game, but they failed to convert the multiple sets into any points.

A clever kick from Cooper Johns in the 57th minute put a fast finishing Papenhuyzen over for his second try; Murphy continued his perfect kicking record taking the score to 24-0. 

The final points for the Falcons came from a Redcliffe mistake in-goal, after the home side failed to clean up a kick, Nicho Hynes pounced on the ball to further break the hearts of the Dolphins faithful; Murphy’s goal extended the lead to 30-0 with 15 minutes left to play.

The Dolphins were held scoreless until the 72nd minute, when Addison Demetriou crossed the Falcons line for the home side’s only try; the conversion was successful, taking the final score to 30-6. 

Olliver Ackerman and Todd 'Uncle Toddy' Murphy, with the Ackerman family and both team captains. Photo: QRL Media
Olliver Ackerman and Todd 'Uncle Toddy' Murphy, with the Ackerman family and both team captains. Photo: QRL Media

Next week the Falcons travel to Papua New Guinea to take on the PNG Hunters in the XXXX Rivalry Round.

Dolphins next face Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

Match: Seagulls v Dolphins

Round 3 -

Full Time
WM Seagulls

Home Team

WM Seagulls

Scored 18 points
Dolphins

Away Team

Dolphins

Scored 10 points

Venue: BMD Kougari Oval

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network