The Griffith Dragons sounded an early warning on their Universities Rugby League Queensland title hopes after a hard-fought victory yesterday.
All six URLQ teams turned out in an Anzac Day triple header at Griffith’s Nathan campus, and it was the home team that showed their intentions early.
The Dragons defeated the two-time reigning champions the University of Queensland Hounds 22-12 to avenge last year’s grand final loss.
But the Dragons did not have it all their own way, as the Hounds launched a late comeback.
The Dragons led 12-6 at halftime after tries to Matt Butler and Paul Ivan, and it was 16-6 soon after the break.
But the Hounds challenged them after a try to Mitch McPherson with 18 minutes remaining.
The Hounds were then unlucky, penalised as they dove over for tries twice; once for obstruction and once for a double movement.
But the Dragons deserved their win, and new recruit Joe Bond finished it off with a cheeky try with five minutes to go.
The QUT Trouts showed they wanted to lift themselves from last year’s wooden spoon with a first-up victory over the Griffith Logan Redbacks.
Defence was hard to find early, with both sides running in tries as the Redbacks took a 24-16 lead at the break.
But the Trouts stiffened their resolve in the second half, keeping the Redbacks scoreless while fullback Jack Hine chimed in for two tries to snag a 32-24 victory.
In the final match Australian Catholic University ha to hang on late to defeat the Griffith Gold Coast Panthers 26-22.
After ACU led 18-12 at halftime, their winger Scott Walker notched two tries in five minutes after the break to jump out to a 14-point lead.
But the Panthers closed through tries to Maverick Sooalo and Bronston Kennach, before ACU hung on for victory.
URLQ ROUND ONE
GRIFFITH DRAGONS 22 (Junior Awate, Joe Bond, Paul Ivan, Matt Butler tries; Bond 3 goals) def UQ HOUNDS 12 (Mitchell McPherson, Harrison Newton tries; Mitch Wells 2 goals) at Griffith Nathan campus.
QUT TROUTS 32 (Jack Hine 2, Corey Findlay, Kaleb Wessing, Hayden Bartlett, Owen Williams tries; Tahnae Hunter 4 goals) def GRIFFITH LOGAN REDBACKS 24 (Roan Barnett, Daniel Watkins, Mason Kelly, Callum Olofia tries; Trent Shield 4 goals) at Griffith Nathan campus.
ACU 26 (Scott Walker 2, Fotu Akaoula, Isaac Bacon, Jamie Crawford tries; Isaac Goodwin 3 goals) def GRIFFITH GOLD COAST PANTHERS 22 (Maverick Sooalo, Josh Zwerdyk, Jackson Oldfield, Bronston Kennach tries; Cody Feltham 3 goals) at Griffith Nathan campus.