Valleys are one step closer to securing a top-two finish after outlasting Wynnum Manly 36-28 in an engrossing In Safe Hands Cup clash at the weekend.
As was the case across the entirety of Round 17, extremely windy conditions wreaked havoc, but it was the Diehards who came away with a crucial win that keeps them four-points clear of Easts Tigers in third.
The Diehards were out to prove their win over the Panthers a week prior was indeed the start of their winning charge towards the finals, while the Seagulls were out to put back-to-back wins on the board after a second half blitz against the Magpies last week revived their season.
Emerson Park - like the whole of South East Queensland - was at the hands of mother nature and the kick off favoured the Seagulls as the blustery conditions pushed the ball over the sidelines after bouncing well inside the field of play.
The attacking set of six after the scrum led to Seagulls dummy half wizard Tristan Hope smashing over from a metre out with just 90 seconds gone.
Valleys hit back through the strength of left centre Sam Collins. Collins was able to get a pass away after busting the Gulls defence and the try-hungry Luke Archer scooted down the sideline to score in the corner.
The Seagulls had a response of their own when they put it through the hands on their left side, leading to Edwin Ipapae scoring under the posts thanks to a Rashuen Denny inside ball.
The seesawing continued when one of the biggest five-eighths in the competition - Diehard Kobe Hetherington - got through some ordinary Gulls defence to again bring the scores level at 12-12 at halftime.
Hetherington again showed his strength early in the second half as he went over to put Valleys in front for the first time.
Momentum continued to swing as it did in the first half, with Orisi Qarantiqio thundering through and carrying three defenders over from 15-metres out to bring the scores level.
Replacement Diehard Brad Frith brought back memories of one of Alan Langer’s most famous tries, spinning over the line on his back and then promoting the ball over the top of his head for a thrilling try.
Scores were again levelled with 17 minutes remaining as Hope executed a hit-and-spin from dummy half for his second try of the day.
Valleys finally put their stamp on the match when a clever banana kick into the in goal from Simon Brittain-Snowden found the fingertips of Firth who touched down for a double.
The back-and-forth sequence was finally broken as Hiale Roycroft smashed over to give the Diehards a 36-24 lead.
With five minutes remaining, Ipape weaved his way over and the Gulls were back within eight points, however, the clock put the contest to rest with Valleys taking the three points and holding on to second place.
Wynnum Manly remain in fourth place and need at least one win in their last three games to guarantee their place in the semis.
Also in Round 17, the West Brisbane Panthers bounced back in a high scoring encounter at Dolphin Stadium, eventually running out with a 48-28 victory.
Finally, the Souths Logan Magpies threw a spanner into Easts Tigers run towards the finals, pulling off a 32-12 upset.
“That’s the best 80 minutes we have put on all year,” a pleased Magpies coach Darren Ferricks said.
“We were playing flat and fast up the middle, so we only had one change in that first half; very happy and pleasing for the boys.”
In Safe Hands Cup Round 17 results
Souths Logan Magpies 32 (Cameron Booth 2, Lenny Magey, Hayden O’Hara, Harrison Muller, Shaun Hollier tries Hayden O’Hara 4 goals) def Easts Tigers 12 (Tevita’unga Wolske, Haydin Elsebach tries Brandon Downey 2 goals)
West Brisbane Panthers 48 (Campbell Mohr 2, Michael Molo 2, Kyle Van Klaveren, Eddie Tantali, Zach Strasser, Jordan Brown tries James Olds 8 goals) def Redcliffe Dolphins 28 (Zev John 2, Josh Rudolph, James Flack, Fabien Paletua-Kiri tries Oscar Carter 4 goals).
Valleys Diehards 36 (Kobe Hetherington 2, Brad Frith 2, Luke Archer, Hiale Roycroft tries Jack Miers 3, Ethan Richards 3 goals) def Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28 (Edwin 2, Tristan Hope 2, Orisi Qaraniqio tries Tristan Hope 4 goals)
|1||West Brisbane Panthers||98||43|
|4||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||-2||33|
|6||Souths Logan Magpies||-153||27|