QLD Premier Rugby Round 8: GPS claim premiership favouritism; Easts & Souths impress

GPS have proven that they’re the Premier Rugby team to beat in 2019 after producing a dominant second half display to hand Brothers their first loss of the season. 

Three penalty goals saw Brothers take a 9-5 lead to the break, before Jeeps gained the upper hand in the second half. 

The Jeeps forwards scored twice from close range early in the second half to push ahead, before their backs and forwards combined brilliantly to score a long range try from a line out on half way. 

Brothers hit back midway through the second half, but the result was never really in doubt. Jeeps then capped a memorable Old Boys Day with a pushover penalty try on the stroke of full time. 

“We were able to build some pressure through our set piece in the second half which gave us some momentum and took away theirs,” Jeeps coach Elwee Prinsloo said. 

“Brothers is a good team that challenges your ability to defend with width but I thought our defensive coach Brendan Gabbett did a great job preparing our boys for the challenge. 

“Our pack was solid. Our backrow Mitch King, Michael Richards and Matt Gicquel played well. I also thought that was the best I’ve seen Jordy Lenac this year. Maalonga Konelio was outstanding on both sides of the ball and got the boys vote for MVP,” the coach added. 

Brothers coach Rod Seib agreed that defence was the difference between the two sides on the day. 

“Full credit to GPS. They defended very well and controlled the ball well in attack. Their scrum also continues to be a dominant weapon for them. We were starved of possession, particularly in the second half, so we weren’t able to exert our usual pressure on their defence,” he said. 

While the loss marks the end of Brothers’ seven game winning streak, Seib said his side won’t be reinventing the wheel in the weeks ahead. 

“We’ve been playing with plenty of confidence all season, so it’s important we continue to back our game plan and not play too conservatively. 

“Our training standards have always been excellent, so we know that we’ll be well prepared for Easts this week, as I’m sure they will be for us.”

Elsewhere, Souths used their scrum to claim an impressive away win against Wests and secure their spot in the top four. 

The Magpies set piece was decimated earlier this year by Easts but has improved drastically in recent weeks. 

“It was a tough, scrappy win. Our scrum was great and we dominated Wests for most of the game at set piece,” coach Elia Tuquri told Rugby News. 

“We’ve been able to keep the majority of our side on the field over the past few weeks and that’s helped us build combinations and cohesion. 

“I also thought Jake Strachan and Bradley Kelegai were outstanding for us again.”

Wests coach Pat Byron agreed that set piece cost his side on the weekend. 

“They dominated our scrum and put a lot of pressure on our line out which made it really tough to maintain possession. 

“Souths are a quality side and when they have that much ball, they’re always going to hurt you.”

Byron said it wasn’t difficult to work out where his side needs to improve. 

“Set piece consistency is the key for us. Once we get that, we’ll be able to challenge anyone.”

Easts retained the Rick Tyrell Cup with a hard fought 26-19 win over Sunnybank in front of a big crowd at Bottomley Park. 

Tigers replacement forward Filimoni Seruvatu Koroivunilagi barged over from close range in the 70th minute to put the home side ahead, before Easts defended their line in the final minutes to seal the win. 

“It was a pretty even, willing contest,” Sunnybank coach Damon Virtue told Rugby News. 

“We just didn’t manage the game well in the second half. We were guilty of trying to play too much footy from our end and that led to errors and invited Easts in with some attacking opportunities, which they took.”

Virtue was full of praise for Sammy Samu, who scored a double in his starting debut on the wing for the Dragons. 

“I thought Phoenix Hunt and Landon Hayes were great for Easts as well,” he added. 

On the Gold Coast, Grant Anderson’s reign at Bond started in style as his side produced a big second half to claim a 45-10 win over Norths. 

Anderson replaced Brad Harris as coach after Harris took up a role overseas mid season. 

Brothers lead the competition after eight rounds one point ahead of Jeeps. Behind them, just six competition points seperate third and seventh as the race for spots in the top four heats up. 

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