QLD Premier Rugby Round 16: The Students Continue to Walk The Tightrope; Easts Rise to Fourth
By Finn Morton; Photo – Brendan Hertel/QRU Media
UQ pulled off a major upset on Saturday, defeating traditional rivals Brothers 36-35 at St Lucia.
The Red Heavies entered round 16 on a five-match winning streak, which has seen them shoot up the ladder in the process.
UQ Coach Mick Heenan has been impressed with his sides form of late but acknowledged that winning has to continue being a fact of life for the Students as they look to keep their finals aspirations alive.
Heenan described the last few weeks as a “tightrope” but takes comfort in the Heavies having complete control of their future.
“We needed to win to make finals so in that sense it meant a bit more than it did to Brothers who are comfortable in the top two,” Heenan said.
“We have been walking a tightrope for a while now but the good part of it is we haven’t been worried about other results.
“We know we just have to keep winning.”
Despite a dominant performance, two tries in the final ten minutes gave Brothers the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Heenan described the UQ performance in the closing stages as a “mindset issue” which Brothers were “good enough to make a game of.”
But ultimately, the Students left St Lucia with both vital competition points and “invaluable feedback.”
“There were a number of positives but the biggest one after you play a good team like Brothers is that it highlights the areas you need to work on and keep improving.
“That is invaluable feedback at this stage of the season and that is what we will be spending our energy on over the bye week.”
A three from eight first-half to the season is now a distant memory for the Students, who now sit comfortably in the top four.
But when asked about what turned his side around, Heenan suggested that the answer was in fact quite simple.
“[There is] No great secret; you just have to keep trying to get better every training session.
“We have been very honest with the players.
“The players to their credit have been honest with each other and it’s good that we are still in with a chance. There is a long way to go though.”
In the other games, Jeeps kept their unlikely Minor Premiership hopes alive with a tight 27-20 victory over Sunnybank.
Bond now sit six-points out of the top four with two games to play after a 37-12 loss to Wests at Sylvan Road. It was also an important win for the Bulldogs, who kept their slim finals hopes alive by winning their first match since round ten.
Easts rise to fourth with a 35-26 victory over Norths at home.