QLD Premier Rugby Round 9: Five things we learned

By Michael Atkinson. Photo: QRU Media

If you’ve experienced a slow start to the Premier Rugby season, you’re alone because it’s already halfway! If you thought you’d take it easy and just cruise in when the finals were close, you’ve missed a lot of quality footy. Here’s five things we learned from round 9.

Where did the season go?

They say time flies when you’re having fun. I don’t know who the proverbial “they” are, but they must be watching Queensland Premier Rugby because it has been fun and the first nine rounds have simply flown by. University are the clear standouts, while GPS and the Bank have staked claims as contenders. The rest of the competition is wide open.

Doing the Eagle Rock

Hey hey hey, good old Eagle Rock is here to… play! I don’t know if Daddy Cool wrote this song with Norths in mind (probably not) but the Eagles are definitely rocking. Back to back wins after taking down the Bulldogs on the weekend. They’ve scored 94 points in those two victories, proving that when things go their way in defence they can be a real force. Nick Chapman at number 9 is singing (and relishing his goal kicking duties) and Veresa Mataitini is flying on the wing. The Eagles have been caught with their pants down (figuratively) in the past, but at the moment they’re likely to be doing it deliberately, as is customary when you rock out to the Daddy Cool mega hit.

Dragons bounce back

After a thumping at the hands of Uni a fortnight ago and a narrow loss to GPS last weekend – for which they only have themselves to blame – the Dragons came roaring back on Saturday with a dominant victory over Brothers. In front of their home fans, Sunnybank turned it on in the second half. Trailing 14-13 at the break, the Dragons ran in 36 points to 5 in the second stanza including a double to “The Ballymore Kid”, Junior Laloifi.

The Gallopers get home by a nose

It’s become a bit of a specialty of the Ashgrove boys; finding a way to win when odds seem against you. They did it against Wests in round 5, again in round 8 when defeat to Sunnybank looked inevitable and then on the weekend they held on against the Tigers. Leading 14-3 at half time, GPS looked to be cruising to victory but Easts had all the momentum after the break. Scoring the only try to make it 14-10 and with a penalty in the final minute, the visitors looked like they were going to break Ashgrove hearts. But a favourite Jeeps’ son – Michael Richards- soared high at the ensuing lineout to steal the ball, allowing the Gallopers to kick into touch and hold on to second spot.

Double Dip the Chip

Earlier in the year I was crowing about the resurgence of the chip-and-chase. It was beautiful to see this sometimes “frowned upon” skill back in use. It went a bit quiet for a while but it was dusted off again on the weekend. Norths scored what would ultimately be their match winner off a chip kick by “The Flying V” (Veresa Mataitini). It was close to a full-field try started by halfback, Chapman, and finished by Vuki (Mataitini). Over at Oldmac Oval, Sunnybank’s willingness to utilise the kick was on show also and Junior Laloifi was the beneficiary. I recommend you check these out for yourselves by looking at the highlight videos on the Queensland Premier Rugby Facebook page.

Round 10 this weekend, and I can’t wait to see what the competition throws up!