QLD Premier Rugby Round 12: Five things we learned

By Michael Atkinson. Photo – QRU Media Meggie Whitchurch

The twelfth round of competition was one that had plenty of interesting possible permutations and, for that reason alone, made it probably the most anticipated weekend of the season. As the dust settled on Saturday evening, there were probably more learnings than we could have anticipated: here’s five of them.

Scrum shambles

G.P.S. continued their scrum dominance in 2017 by demolishing the Brothers set piece to the point where the defending Premiers had to resort to uncontested scrums. At the time, the Jeeps players and officials were screaming for justice, having just had their greatest weapon taken off them. With the game on the line at 16-10 in Jeeps’ favour, they should have at least been rewarded by Brothers being reduced to 14 men, however, the match officials missed this section of the laws and the visitors finished the game with a full compliment. The Gallopers held on for a vital win, a result that was not only important for them, but for the officials getting out of Yoku Road alive.

Tigers roaring

Theeeeeyyy’rree back… in the top four at least. Easts leap frogged Wests on the ladder after downing the Bulldogs by 17 points. Hooker Sam Richards bagged a double, veteran Toby White crossed the stripe, and halfback Tim Smith tormented his old team with a try and three conversions. Back-to-back wins for the Tigers have them primed for the pointy end of the season, but they won’t be able to relax at all over the next seven weeks as the race for the finals is still wide open.

The Bash Brothers have arrived

Over the past three seasons, Souths have fielded a backline bigger than most forward packs and fast then most other backlines. In round 12 that reputation became even more fearsome when a notable Red, and former, Wallaby pulled on the black jersey for the first time this year. Chris Feauai-Sautia lined up at 13, outside massive inside centre, Levi Aumua; and they were fed crisp pill all afternoon by Paul Brown at fly-half. The wrecking-ball trio contributed four tries between them (two to Brown, one for Aumua, one to CFS) and caused headaches for Norths. Hopefully their combination can continue and Feauai-Sautia can find his way back to a Reds jersey.

Students fight their way to victory

Winning and UQ Rugby are synonymous, but winning comfortably is what Queensland Premier Rugby fans are used to seeing. When a team gets used to winning easy, sometimes a bit of pressure is all that’s needed to inflict defeat. Uni have shown they can withstand the pressure. They were pushed all the way in round 11 by Brothers and Sunnybank gave them a big shake on Saturday. Last year, Uni lost one game in the regular season only to lose to Brothers twice in the finals; these recent, hard-fought victories are the perfect lesson the Students need to prepare themselves for finals footy… because they will be there.

Magpies swooping

It’s not officially nesting season, but the competition should start putting zip-ties in their bike helmets because the Magpies are coming. Three on the trot for Souths and they’ve done it in style the last two weeks. A 24-point margin over Norths on Saturday is their biggest win of the year and, after sitting in 7th just last week, they now sit just two points outside the top four, but a fourth straight win could put them on the inside.