GPS 36 def University 35
The GPS Gallopers have kept their season alive with a dramatic come-from-behind win over a strong University side.
The Red Heavies were boosted by the return of Reds’ fullback Luke Morahan, who played a dominant role in Uni’s strong first half. The home side were impressive, making line breaks at will and scoring points when in good field position. Winger David Burns bagged a double and with five tries scored in the first half, University had a bonus point, and seemingly the game, wrapped up well before half-time, though poor goal-kicking failed to extend their lead. They took a 28-9 lead into the break, GPS’s fly-half Aporosa Tuqiri having put the visitors on the board through penalty goals.
The half-time break was welcomed by GPS,who clearly needed time to catch their breath and revisit their game plan; however, it was all looking elementary for a red-hot University side.
The Gallopers’ coach Shane Arnold identified a lack of belief and confidence as the two major issues for his side in the first half. Arnold implored his charges to back themselves and their abilities, stressing that the game was far from over — words that would echo in the minds of his players for the next 40 minutes.
The resumption of play did little to change the predictions of the modest University crowd, with GPS continuing their sloppy brand of football and University creating breaks at will.
The visitors finally crossed the line courtesy of some quick thinking from halfback Nick Frisby, who took a quick tap and darted over from short range, catching the University defence off-guard.
The try kicked GPS into action and there was some renewed vigour in their play. Their defence had sharpened and there was definite improvement in their ball handling.
Led by Reds’ player Frisby, the Gallopers made a stirring comeback, scoring two more tries to come within four points of the hosts.
The match-winner was indicative of the change of tide in the match, coming off a piece of brilliance from Tuqiri. The fly-half shot out of the line and took hold of a lofted Uni pass; run down quickly by the fleet footed Morahan, Tuqiri threw a long pass back inside to his support and the ball finished up in the hands of winger Todd Winkley, who darted over in the corner to put the Gallopers in front, 36 points to 35, with only a few minutes remaining.
A handling error from the home side on full-time signalled the end for Uni and they were left to lament some poor goal-kicking and a the loss of that huge half-time lead, as the GPS players threw their hands up in celebration.
University have now squandered two big half-time leads, and ensuring an 80-minute performance will be their main focus heading into next week’s clash with Sunnybank — who have won sixof their last seven matches and will soon be welcoming back a host of Reds players.
Norths 52 def Rugby Gold Coast 24
I ventured along to Glennon Park yesterday with much optimism to see the mighty Breakers take on a confident Norths side, who had pulled off a massive upset the week before by beating the Brethren. It was an almighty arm-wrestle in the early stages with the intensity creating a lot of pressure and leading to a few handling errors as both sides tore into one another.
The Breakers got first points courtesy of a strong run by 12 Liam Macgeachy who beat his opposite number with a strong fend to dot down beside the posts. McGeachy converted his own try, leaving Norths to rue a couple of earlier missed penalties from handy spots. However, it would not be long before Norths would bounce back, with a strong surge by their 12 taking the all deep into Breakers territory, and with great support play one of their locks scored a well-taken try. The Norths kicker was still suffering the wobbles, however, and he missed a seemingly easy conversion.
As the game unfolded the Norths forward started to gain dominance and assert itself over its opposition. However, both teams would lament missed opportunities with poor handling or decision-making. The pressure was starting to tell on the home side and a well-worked blind side move from a scrum 15 metres out saw Norths take the lead, 12- 7 with the conversion. The Breakers enjoyed some rare possession in the back end of the first half and were rewarded with a penalty, which was converted by McGeachy to leave the Breakers 12-10 down at the break.
The second half was all one-way traffic as the visitors pounced on the errors of the home side and duly converted the pressure into points. It pains me to say, but the Breakers’ capitulation was embarrassing and humiliating and there was more intensity in the local club game that followed, which says a lot about the state of our current representative side here on the Coast. Norths coach Mike Bishop and his players will be pleased to have travelled down the Pacific Highway to reverse the result from the previous meeting. Rob Nowlan, on the other hand, will be wondering how he can get us up for the rest of the season, with big games against Souths, GPS, Uni, Brothers and Sunnybank to come. Something tells me this side will concede 100 points in a game before the 2012 season is done.