QLD Premier Rugby Round 1: Five things we learnt
By Tim Mosey
QLD Premier Rugby is back and round one certainly didn’t disappoint with a number of surprising results causing tipsters headaches to start the year.
1) Norths could be this year’s surprise package
Led by Reds forward Reece Hewat and long serving three quarter Varesa Matiateni, the men from Shaw Rd were impressive in round one and surprised many by drawing with Sunnybank 27-27 at Oldman Oval.
2) The Dogs have patience
Wests fought back from a ten point deficit early in the match and showed plenty of patience to beat Bond at a water logged Glennon Park at Nerang.
Local support for rugby on the coast can only benefit from Bond taking their home games to suburban grounds Coast wide.
3) The Dalgleish/Gale combination is critical for Universities success
After a stint in Japan, Scott Gale made a fantastic return to Premier Rugby in the Red Heavies tight win over Easts.
His sharp ruck base service and option taking were a class above his opponent but young Easts scrumhalf Phoenix Hunt will be better for the experience.
Gale and Dalgliesh kept their side in the match but it was the Tigers who would be disappointed with a late decision which cost them a penalty and eventually the match.
4) It’s difficult to predict anything from day one of the competition
Brothers would be disappointed with a home loss and looked rusty against a clinical GPS side.
A draw between Norths and the Dragons probably left both sides feeling deflated after a long pre season.
In such a tight competition, minimising the difference between the best and worst games this season will be critical to all Premier sides come finals time.
5) Refereeing decisions late in games can determine outcomes
Easts captain Matt Gordon will be scratching his head after giving away the penalty which ultimately decided the match against UQ.
Both Norths and Sunnybank also had opportunities to break their deadlock late in the match.
One hopes that the referees can have the confidence to let the players decide matches.
It is noticeable that those officials with previous playing experience have an innate feel for the game. When players are fatigued late in games and doing their best to hang on, it is seldom the time to penalise minor offences.