A late try to Taniela Moa has lifted the West Brisbane Panthers to a 24-20 win over the Tigers in Round 9 of the In Safe Hands Cup.
Playing at their traditional home, Purtell Park, the Panthers hosted the Tigers on their Old Boys Day and the game delivered a spectacle worthy of the occasion.
Easts, chasing their fourth win of the season, came out fired up and produced a wonderfully physical display.
Panthers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen described the first 20 minutes the toughest he had seen all season.
“They came at us and we weren’t handling them the way we would have liked,” he said.
“They are a good side and their big men were winning the wrestle. We need to start our games with more intensity than that, something we haven’t done the last two games.”
The class and vision of Jack Walters reaped the first try after two minutes, making it look easy out of dummy half to get the Tigers on the board early.
The Panthers hit back 15 minutes later. Some slick hands from Khan Ahwang and Kyle Van Klaveren found James Olds unmarked to touch down on the right-hand side.
A Panthers error led to Tigers flyer Connor Jones running 80-metres to the score under the cross bar, giving the visitors an eight-point lead.
Some more punishing forward work from the rampaging Easts pack had the Panthers stretched in defence as Jack Peoples strolled over untouched.
The Panthers, well aware that they were going to face the music at halftime, needed to reel in the 18-4 deficit.
West Brisbane went to the edges again, this time sending left winger Campbell Mohr over out wide. A moment of levity ensued as the thin Tigers cover defence was aided by a canine field invader.
Despite the dog’s best efforts, Mohr crossed untouched and Ahwang converted from out wide (the Tigers were not deducted any points for fielding a dog as a fourteenth player).
While that try shortened the margin, it was still a disappointing first half performance and the Panthers emerged from the sheds looking somewhat pale as they were no doubt on the receiving end of choice words from the coaches.
The response came in the form of Mohr crossing for his second try six minutes after the tongue lashing.
Ahwang’s radar was on track and it was all square 16-16. Ahwang’s boot then put the Panthers in front with less than 16 minutes to go thanks to a penalty right in front.
Moments later, Jones was over out wide for his double to put Easts back in front by two-points.
The game had one last twist when Shane Pumipi hit a flying Moa who charged through the gap and scored the match-winner.
West Brisbane took home the 24-20 victory as well as the Craig Little Cup. The Mike Higgison Memorial Player of the Match went to Shane Pumipi.
Elsewhere in Round 9, the Souths Logan Magpies led 16-12 over the Diehards, but Valleys responded after the break to take it 28-24.
At Kitchener Park, Redcliffe took a 20-8 lead into the break, before the Wynnum Manly Seagulls piled on 40 unanswered points to claim a 48-20 victory.
From all reports, Seagulls coach Ron Troutman’s halftime address was a quiet affair, although he did mention he knew where they all lived.
In Safe Hands Cup BRL A Grade Round 9 results
Seagulls 48 (Moses Pangai 3, Sam Elliott 3, Brad Mana, Tristan Hope, Matt Milson tries John Te Reo 3, Tristan Hope 3 goals) defeated Dolphins 20 (Tyson Cleal, Hugh Pratt, Zev John tries Oscar Carter 4 goals)
Diehards 28 (Simon Brittain-Snowden 2, Sam Collins, Jack Miers, Henry Penn, tries Jack Miers 4 goals) defeated Magpies 24 (Hayden O’Hara, Lachlan Cooper, Luke Burton, Phil Dennis, Beniah Bowie tries Josh Bowyer 2 goals)
Panthers 24 (Campbell Mohr 2, Taniela Moa, James Olds tries; Khan Ahwang 4 goals) defeated Tigers 20 (Connor Jones 2, Jack Walters, Jack Peoples tries; Zakaria Taibi 2 goals)
|1||West Brisbane Panthers||18||23|
|3||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||58||21|
|5||Souths Logan Magpies||-61||15|