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Round 3 in review: Junior statewide competitions

The competition ramped up in Round 3 of the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, Harvey Norman Under 19s and Cyril Connell Challenge, with plenty of close matches and a couple of upsets.

Here is a wrap up of Round 3.

Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup

Game of the week

Saturday's clash between Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Souths Logan Magpies was a real tug-of-war showdown, with both sides throwing everything into the match at Marsden State High School.

The tide changed multiple times throughout, with Souths Logan taking an early lead, before they went into the break drawn 12-12. Wynnum Manly then came rushing out of the gates in the second half before Souths Logan hit back to take the lead 26-24 with just minutes left on the clock.

The Magpies fought hard to hold onto that lead, but the Seagulls were relentless in attack, with the forward pack in particular challenging Souths Logan's defensive line. And it was prop Zane Ford who finally broke through to claim the win for Wynnum Manly, scoring a late try to seal the match at 30-26.

Other scores

Redcliffe Dolphins 34 def Tweed Seagulls 10
Townsville Blackhawks 32 def Northern Pride 8
Ipswich Jets 48 def Western Clydesdales 20
Burleigh Bears 44 def Brisbane Tigers 20
Mackay Cutters 36 def Central Queensland Capras 24
Sunshine Coast Falcons 58 def Wide Bay Bulls 20
Bye: Norths Devils

Mover of the week

The Ipswich Jets moved from sixth place into third on the ladder after a massive win over the Western Clydesdales. With nine tries to four, the Jets were slow to get started - with the Clydesdales crossing three times in the opening eight minutes - but once they found their groove, they were unstoppable.

Six teams now remain undefeated in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, with Wynnum Manly in fifth position having won all three of their matches so far. The rest of the top six have all won two games apiece plus a bye.

Finn Lawson takes a shot at goal for the Sunshine Coast Falcons. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL
Finn Lawson takes a shot at goal for the Sunshine Coast Falcons. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL

Shout outs

Xavier Kerrisk nabbed a hat-trick for the Mackay Cutters in their 36-24 victory over the Central Queensland Capras, through some incredible individual efforts. Kerrisk was in fine attacking form for his team and was a constant threat to the Capras. Meanwhile, Ipswich centre Alton Naiyep was also instrumental in his side's win over the Clydesdales, notching up four stunning tries.

Player to bank on : Xavier Kerrisk

There were also a few goalkickers on show over the weekend, with Finn Lawson's precision with the boot impressive for the Sunshine Coast Falcons. The young fullback kicked nine out of 10 conversion attempts in his side's 58-20 victory over the Wide Bay Bulls. Elsewhere, Burleigh fullback Zyroam Tarawa-Herlihy also overcame the windy elements to slot through a stunning conversion in the 38th minute of his side's 44-20 win over Brisbane Tigers.

Harvey Norman Under 19s

Game of the week

Another nail biter that went down to the wire over the weekend was the Harvey Norman Under 19s clash between Burleigh Bears and Brisbane Tigers. A tit-for-tat style of match, the two sides went back and forth in the entertaining hit out, with emotions starting to boilover towards the end.

There was a send off and a sin bin two minutes apart, with both sides down to 12 players in the final eight minutes. The Tigers were in front 20-18 in the dying stages, but Burleigh were far from throwing the towel in, with the home side taking every opportunity they could to break through Brisbane's line.

They finally crossed with six minutes left on the clock, after Matisse Bettridge threw a cut out pass to centre Sienna Norris, who sealed the match for the Bears.

Other scores

Tweed Seagulls 28 def Redcliffe Dolphins 4
Mackay Cutters 22 def Central Queensland Capras 8
Townsville Blackhawks 38 def Northern Pride 0
Ipswich Jets 20 def Western Clydesdales 12
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 26 def Souths Logan Magpies 6
Sunshine Coast Falcons 64 def Wide Bay Bulls 6
Bye: Norths Devils

Mover of the week

The Sunshine Coast Falcons have shot right up the ladder, moving from 11th to fourth after smashing the Wide Bay Bulls 64-6. They Falcons were unstoppable at Kawana Sports Precinct and will be pleased with their efforts after they lost 26-4 to the Ipswich Jets to start the season.

Meanwhile, Wynnum Manly have won an impressive three from three to start season 2023, moving into top spot on the ladder this week after a 20-point victory over the Souths Logan Magpies.

Shout outs

One of the absolute standouts of the round was Sunshine Coast Falcons second rower Nancy Sullivan, who put in a tireless effort against the Wide Bay Bulls. A hard-running Sullivan scored a hat-trick, threatened the line on multiple occasions and ate up the metres.

What a weapon: Nancy Sullivan

Meanwhile, Montaya Hudson made quite the impression on fans at UAA Park, after the Brisbane Tigers fullback scored her own try but then showed some blistering speed to set up another four-pointer for Esther Pedro.

Elsewhere, Savannah Roberts-Hickling earned a hat-trick for the Tweed Seagulls as did Ana Malupo for the Townsville Blackhawks. 

Cyril Connell Challenge

Game of the week

It was a rollercoaster performance out at Kawana Sports Precinct on Sunday afternoon, as the Sunshine Coast Falcons and Wide Bay Bulls battled it out until the final hooter, with the Falcons taking the two points.

The scoreboard went in their favour at 34-26, but it was a hard-fought win for the home team, who also won a nail biter against the Ipswich Jets last week.

The Bulls came racing out of the gates in the Round 3 clash to score three fast tries in the space of eight minutes, putting plenty of pressure on the Falcons at 16-0. But the young Sunshine Coast outfit remained cool and calm, with skipper Ellyjah Birve leading the way to help put his side back in the game.

Birve set up two tries for winger Nate Donald just before halftime to bring them within striking distance of the Bulls. After the break, Taj Handsaker was quick to build upon the Falcons' momentum, and Toby Irvine and Jackson Koina continued to pile on the points, with the Sunshine Coast racing out to a 28-16 lead.

But the Bulls wanted to finish how they started and it was prop Ryan Charteris who steamrolled his way to the line to give Wide Bay their first points of the second half. Lukas Blair pushed his way over just moments later to bring them within two points at 28-26 with seven minutes to go. Unfortunately a missed conversion sealed the deal for the Bulls and the Falcons posted one last try through Benjamin Hunter to ensure the win was theirs.

Both sides showed plenty of determination to fight their way back into the game when the odds seemed against them, leading to a thrilling finish. The Falcons are two from two for season 2023 while the Bulls have suffered two close losses after going down 24-22 to the Western Clydesdales last week.

Other scores

Redcliffe Dolphins 24 def Tweed Seagulls 10
Townsville Blackhawks 20 def Northern Pride 14
Western Clydesdales 24 def Ipswich Jets 16
Central Queensland Capras 28 def Mackay Cutters 0
Burleigh Bears 24 def Brisbane Tigers 12
Souths Logan Magpies 38 def Wynnum Manly Seagulls 12
Bye: Norths Devils

Mover of the week

The Townsville Blackhawks claimed a tight, six-point victory over their northern rivals in the Pride on Saturday to go back-to-back to start the season. After overcoming the Central Queensland Capras in their opening match last week by just four points, the Blackhawks are sitting in second on the ladder - up from fourth - and are showing plenty of resilience when the game is on the line.

Elsewhere, the Redcliffe Dolphins returned from their bye week to take top spot on the ladder - up from third - with a 24-10 win over the Tweed Seagulls at Piggabeen Sports Complex.

Shout outs

Ellyjah Birve was a standout in the Sunshine Coast Falcons and Wide Bay Bulls clash on Sunday. The halfback was cool under pressure and put on two tries for his winger Nate Donald when his side desperately needed some points. However, it wasn't just his attacking flair that set Birve apart, but also his aggression in defence and his ability to be everywhere on the park. It was a true captain's knock from the skipper.

Another half that stood up for his team was Souths Logan No.7 Levi-James Bannan. Bannan scored a double and showed no fear on the park, happy to bring down the biggest of players with ease. He was a real danger man for the Magpies.

What a weapon: Levi-James Bannan

Match official of the week

Jacob Gregg officiating the Harvey Norman Under 19s. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL
Jacob Gregg officiating the Harvey Norman Under 19s. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL

Sometimes the hardest matches to referee aren't just the close ones, but the games where one team runs away with the result.

Jacob Gregg had this sort of match on Sunday, as the Sunshine Coast Falcons beat the Wide Bay Bulls 64-6. With 14 tries posted across the 60 minutes, Gregg was composed, compliant and moved well.

He didn't lose focus and put in a strong performance.

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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