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With Round Eight in the books, just three rounds of the Hospital Cup remain, and the competition is tighter than ever.

Brothers moved within touching distance of the top-four with a rousing victory over Souths over the weekend, while front-runners UQ and Easts consolidated their positions on top of the ladder with wins over Norths and Sunnybank respectively.

To round out the action, Wests secured their second win of the season, beating GPS to prove they have what it takes to make a late charge to the finals in the next month.

Let’s take a look around the grounds.

Brothers 63 v Souths 5

Brothers moved within striking distance of the top-four with a resounding 63-5 victory over Souths at Crosby Park.

The Brethren were clinical against the young Magpies, running in nine tries to one in what was their most comprehensive win of the season.

Young winger Nate Carroll again proved he belongs in the top grade, scoring a try and impressing around the park, while Will Wilson was strong in the second row in just his second Premier Grade start.

The win moves the side within two points of fourth-placed GPS on the ladder, with a finals berth well within their reach in 2020.

Head coach Anthony Mathison said he was pleased with his side’s performance in front of their home crowd.

“Saturday was another positive step forward for us as a group,” Mathison said.

“We’ll take great confidence away from that performance but we’re well aware that we need to keep working hard at training to keep improving each week.

“We showed good commitment to the physical contests in the game, but I was really impressed with our discipline to stick to our plan of how we wanted to play, especially after we got out to a lead on the scoreboard.”

Still yet to taste victory in the season proper, the Magpies sit on the bottom of the ladder with three rounds of the season remaining.

Head coach Todd Dammers said his young side are still a work in progress at the top level.

“It’s a process for us, Dammers said.

“We are not trying to give ourselves any excuses. We are not executing what we have trained which is frustrating for the lads.

“They are at a point in their development as players and a team where they need to take that next step.

“They (Brothers) played a very up-tempo game and stuck to a pretty simple yet effective plan. Simply too strong for us.”

The Brethren take on Norths away from home next round, while Souths host GPS.

Brothers 65 (Rohan Saifoloi, Michael Wood, Liam Richman, Nate Carroll, Paddy James, Matt Faessler, Hudson Creighton, Tom Moloney, Will Stevens tries; Saifoloi 7, Henry Lennon 2 conversions) d Souths 5 (Sebastian Hanna tries).

University of Queensland 39 Norths 0

Defending premiers UQ made it six wins straight on the weekend after dismantling Norths 39-0 at St Lucia.

With a host of experienced stars out, the Heavies established a 19-0 lead by the 15-minute mark and had no troubles holding out the Eagles for the remainder of the game on Saturday.

The Student’s ran in seven tries in the win, including doubles to Connor Clancy and Richard Clift, as they consolidated their spot on top of the ladder with another bonus-point victory.

Sunshine Coast product and former Australian Schools Barbarians representative Jasper Mellish made his Premier Grade debut in the win, while UQ captain Pat Morrey was at his pesky best around the breakdown.

UQ Director of Rugby Elton Berrange said he was pleased with his side’s efforts to shut down the potentially dangerous Norths outfit.

“I was impressed with our scramble defence,” Berrange said.

“We conceded too many line breaks but managed to shut Norths’ opportunities down.

“I was also pleased with our patience in attack and defence. We built multiple phases in attack and the same in defence, we kept them out.

“We’ll need to improve our discipline. Our key work on in defence will taking a step back ruling of soft offsides penalties without sacrificing line speed.

“Pat Morrey had a great game but collectively I was really happy with the finishers. It’s probably the most seamless transition we’ve had subbing eight players on in about 15 minutes.”

The Eagles will be left frustrated after failing to turn a number of attacking opportunities into points, although the performance of new halves pairing Liam Prendergast and Connor Scurr was a shining light for the side.

They’ll take on Brothers next week, while UQ have a bye to prepare for their run into finals.

University of Queensland 39 (Richard Clift 2, Connor Clancy 2, Braiden Oates, James Wood, Tom Mellor tries; Kye Oates 2 conversions) d Norths 0.

Easts 36 v Sunnybank 12

Easts’ premiership tilt rolled on in Round 8 with a 36-12 win over Sunnybank at David Wilson Field.

In what was the QRU’s inaugural Mental Health Round, the Tigers retained the Rick Tyrell Cup, in honour of former Easts and Sunnybank player Rick Tyrell who lost his battle with mental health in 2015.

The match was tightly contested in its opening exchanges, with Sunnybank holding a slender lead at the 15-minute mark, before the Tigers gained ascendency in the latter stages of the opening forty.

Easts went on to score 24-unanswered points, accounting for the Dragons to claim their fifth win of the season and move within two-points of ladder-leaders UQ.

Former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen was again at his best for the Tigers, scoring his sixth try of the season, while Eli Pilz again directed his side around the park with great success.

The loss is Sunnybank’s first of the season by more than seven-points, with the Bankers uncharacteristically out of the game in the second stanza.

Skipper Tom Lucas proved his immense worth to the team with yet another standout performance, while Queensland and Wallabies cult hero Digby Ioane found the line for a try in his first start of the season

The Dragons return home next week to face Bond University and will need to be at their best for the full 80-minutes against a Bond side capable of plenty of points.

Easts have another home game in Round 9 and will be looking to continue their strong run of form against Wests.

Easts 36 (Eli Pilz, Ben Mowen, Dylan Taikato-Simpson, George Bloomfield, Zac Crothers tries; Eli Pilz 4 conversions, Pilz 1 penalty) d Sunnybank 12 (Tom Lucas, Digby Ioane tries, Tom Lucas conversion).

Wests 36 v GPS 26

It was a see-sawing affair at Sylvan Road, with Wests eventually overcoming GPS 36-26 on Saturday.

In front of a huge Ladies Day crowd at The Kennel, both sides traded tries for much of the afternoon, before a stunning Bryon Hutchinson five-pointer from a pinpoint cross-field kick eventually sealed a ten-point win for the Bulldogs.

Wests held out the surging GPS attack on their own line on multiple occasions, showing their wares against one of the competition’s stronger attacking teams.

The set-piece battle was much-discussed pre-game and both packs proved why, with neither able to secure scrum dominance for the full 80-minutes.

GPS front rower Josh Tuqiri was the beneficiary of a trademark scrum try for the Gallopers, while the Wests forwards unit forced a number of scrum penalties against the renowned Jeeps pack.

Shea Lalagavesi was menacing out wide for the Bulldogs, breaking the line on several occasions, while his counterpart Josh Collins threatened the Wests defence all afternoon.

Wests head coach Carl Marshall said the win shows what his side can do against the competition’s best.

“We were impressed with our goal line defence particularly in the second half,” Marshall said.

“GPS are a high-quality team so that win proves that we are capable of competing with anyone in the competition.

“It was solid performance from the whole team and the players that were injected into the game from the bench really made a difference.

Wests 36 (Cooper Whiteside, Jacob Carmichael, Callum Smith, Shane Tasi, Byron Hutchinson tries; Whiteside 4 conversions, Whiteside 1 penalty) d GPS 26 (Ratu Batibasaga 2, Michael Richards, Josh Tuqiri tries; Teti Tela 3 conversions).

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