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Tigers hold out Capras in close encounter

The 50th clash between the Brisbane Tigers and Central Queensland Capras could be a preview of a potential finals game.

Coming into the game, the Tigers were in ninth position, while the Capras were fourth.

With the ladder as tight as it is, neither team could afford a slip up. 

In their history, the Tigers had won the past two games between the two clubs and it was the Tigers who got a 28-14 win when they met last in Round 5.

There are always questions to be asked in August about attack and defence and if teams want to play finals, they need the answers now.

The Capras certainly weren’t taking a conservative approach to the game and Ethan O’Neill gave them the perfect start when the second rower got over for his fifth try in 18 games in 2022.

Trey Browne added the two points and at 6-0, the Capras were away to a great start.

The Tigers responded and scored the next two tries.

Darren Nicholls went to the air and found a leaping and catching winger in Zak Taibi in the corner and then the Tigers went in again.

They went to the air again, but this time, it was Tony Pellow throwing a pass to BJ Aufaga-Toomaga who went flying through the air to put the ball down in the corner.

The Tigers liked the two tries, so thought why not three.

Tigers went deep into Capras territory with a great Jordan Grant run and then attacked wide; and again it was Pellow - this time throwing a great cut-out ball to Taibi to score his double.

The Tigers fullback was playing a finals game early and his side had scored three tries in 13 minutes and gone from 6-0 down to 14-6 up.

This wasn’t going to be a low scoring finals preparation game and the Capras scored again when they went down the other end through O’Neill again, who was running straight.

The Capras half Jack Madden drew the Tigers out of the line and O’Neill did the rest, running off his hip to score.

Madden was on the other side this time, but repeated the same act when he went to the line and found his second-row mate Nixon Putt who charged his way over and give the Capras back the lead 18-14.

It was Pellow again on a massive arcing run from left to right that found a hard-running Dan Russell to score and with the conversion give the Tigers back the lead 20-18 at halftime.

A seven-try half had provided lots of attack and tries, but the team that can show some defence and turn away multiple attacking raids would be in a good position in the next 40 minutes.

The Tigers came again in the second half with their strong offloading game and Taibi had his third try.

The Tigers went the short side and attacked at the Capras, when Jayden Nikorima fired a pass to Solomona Faataape who then found Taibi to score in the corner.

The scoring continued when Madden launched a monster bomb that couldn’t be handled by the Tigers and on the spot cleaning up and claiming the try was Brandon Roberts.

Roberts has 15 tries and is keeping pace with the Hostplus Cup top three in 2022, and more importantly, kept the Capras within four points of the Tigers.

Then the Tigers went into finals mode, scoring two quick tries that took the game away from the Capras.

Mid-field scrums are great to attack and outside backs want the ball. Pellow had been sensational for the Tigers and his speed continued to play havoc with the Capras defence. He came around and scored to give the Tigers a 10-point lead with 22 minutes to play.

Jonah Pezet comes off the bench for the Tigers and adds everything you want in a utility player; his punch through the middle, his step and his pass happen at speed.

Pezet had all his skills on display when he jumped out on the left, stepped back to the right and fired a pass to his Storm bench buddy Alec MacDonald who had his first Hostplus Cup try.

The Tigers lead of 38-22 had the Tigers finals ticket ready to be stamped.

The Capras had two last bits of fight left in them when Jamie Hill attacked the right hand side and found Madden out the back who offloaded for Roberts to score.

The Capras scored again when Jonus Pearson scored when Madden rolled it through and found the Capras winger.

The Capras were within four points with three minutes to play, but the Tigers held on to get the two points they needed.

Next week, the Tigers will play Tweed.

The Capras will play Souths Logan Magpies.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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