Mt Gravatt Eagles held off a late rally by Sunnybank Magpies in a thrilling 32-22 win in Rugby League Brisbane's Open 3 Men’s division played at Allan Innes Field on Saturday, June 4.
Led by inspirational captain Kyle Ludgater, the Eagles played a near perfect game in front of a healthy crowd who braved the elements in the icy conditions.
It wasn’t until the 15th minute that points were scored through Eagles fullback Davian Yasso, who sliced his way through the Magpies defence to post first points.
A seesaw first half made for some entertaining football and in the 25th minute Sunnybank finally got on the scoreboard courtesy of hooker Alex Lentell, who snuck over from dummy half.
However, the Eagles started to get serious and laid on another try in the 30th minute when Chris Spence pinched a four-pointer out of nothing.
The Eagles had now stepped it up a gear and were making some great metres up the middle through Ludgater, Cooper Dagan and Pita Callaghan.
Sunnybank went close though on two separate occasions to further increase the scoreline, but some heavy-handed Eagles defence stood in their way, frustrating the Magpies.
Deep into Magpies territory though, the Eagles again made the visitors pay, capitalising on some flimsy defence to score a superb try in the corner.
The Eagles had a chance to go in again right on the half-time hooter only to be held up by a desperate Magpies who were out on their feet.
The opening of the second half was more akin to a war of attrition rather than a thing of beauty, as both sides came out fired up.
The Magpies started to out some heavy handed defence through workhorses Steve Tagaloa and Matt Dunsmore that rocked the Eagles attack.
However, captain courageous Ludgater took charge of his troops and smashed his way through the Magpies defence to open the scoring in the second stanza.
The Magpies were trying hard through halfback Liam Carkeet (who was dangerous with the ball) and fullback Ben Lui who was proving to be a handful as he chimed into the backline.
However, the Eagles had other ideas and in the 45th minute were in again through fullback Phillip Stumer-Hooper who blitzed his opposite to score in the corner.
A moment of individual brilliance saw Magpies lock Faanuuleao Lavea ward off four Eagles defenders, to then step his way to the line and cross beside the sticks.
In a mirror image, Magpies prop Chevez Barbarich followed suit with a barnstorming try not three minutes later, to have the Eagles looking over their shoulders late in the game.
Even Eagles hooker Isaiah Tauroa, who was tireless in defence, couldn’t stop the Magpies next try through centre Raiden Blake-Havea, who managed to reach out and plant the ball down right on the white chalk.
With the Eagles now out on their feet, the full-time hooter sounded to see the home side snatch a hard-fought victory in what was a quality game of rugby league.