QLD Premier Rugby: Seven talking points from round 7
By Tim Mosey. Photo: QRU Media
It was another cracking weekend of Premier Rugby and a few things caught me eye.
Gale at 15 – Superb
A master stroke from UQ coach Mick Heenan saw regular halfback Scott Gale put his sublime stamp on the weekends win over Wests at St Lucia.
Gale was a running, ball carrying, kicking, try scoring mecca for the students. The fullback scored two tries and was dangerous each time he touched the ball for the Red Heavies.
With Reds contracted No.9 Tate McDermott in the starting halfback role, UQ may have found a regular spot for both of these outstanding young backs in their run-on 15.
Front Row Fun
The combat at scrum time between UQ and Wests was something to be seen.
Wests were the dominant force up front with Misi Timoteo and prop partner, former Titans namesake Josh Graham, putting the acid test on their opponents Campbell Wakely and Joshua Nasser.
The Red Heavies boys, though, had the last laugh.
Nasser ran 50m to score untouched next to the posts. Wakely’s soft hands in attack and ball carrying numbers enabled UQ to play with width, or rumble through the middle and both players were crucial to victory for UQ.
Deception Wins it for GPS
Lineouts in the modern game seem to be pretty simple, particularly close to the tryline.
The script generally reads: hooker throws to four, catcher brings it down, forward pack converges and team in possession rumbles a maul toward the tryline.
Effectiveness is assessed by the call from the referee – try or no try.
On Saturday however, this was not the case. Deception was the name of the day.
Ryan Freney reached into his bag of Houdini tricks to call what was, in the end, the winning play for the Gallopers.
The trick-play from hooker Freney created a parting of the seas through the middle of the Souths lineout for flanker Matt Gicquel, who was standing at halfback, to barge over in the right hand corner.
This match was a showcase for QLD Premier Rugby.
It was a sneak peek at two potential Grand Final opponents battling it out this year in front of a satisfied Ladies Day crowd.
Savenaca Totovosau’s name appears predictably in this column and for good reason. The kid is a gun.
Three tries to the captivating outside back took his tally to eight in seven rounds and enabled Easts to dominate Norths.
Easts are looking good and have enough engine power up front to ensure hasty ball is being sent wide to Totovosau.
Opposition teams will need to be on their game come review time on Tuesdays before playing Easts. The Fijian weapon will now be high on the priority list for defence coaches across the competition.
Bond – Big Points at Home
Bond were exceptional at home against Sunnybank.
Before halftime, impressive Bond inside centre Corbin Kiernan had a double. Bond’s speedy clearance at the tackle and their ability to select runners in space out wide ensured they penetrated Sunnybank’s defence.
The men from the coast will be hoping this win is the one that turns the tide while Sunnybank will be searching for answers.
They looked lacklustre in attack and defence.
The Dragons focus will need to shift before next week’s clash with title contenders Souths.
QRU – Exceptional Work with Grassroots Rugby
Queensland Rugby Union take a bow.
At a time when Grassroots Rugby across the country seems to be copping a raw deal, in QLD, its promotion is being heralded by the games’ governing body in the state.
Led by hardworking and driven, Reds Media Coordinator Brendan “Sauce” Hertel, the QRU are piercing the coverage of QLD Premier Rugby deeper than ever before.
With four games streamed live through the Reds Rugby YouTube website, QLD first grade rugby can now be watched in the lounge rooms of those who own a Smart TV.
With the match of the round being called by vibrant and knowledgeable hosts former underage national representative javelin thrower Martin Lippiatt and Wests Bulldogs front rower Jaybor Staunton, club rugby fans that can’t get to a match can watch the exceptionally well-covered matches on their TV.
The Seven Network in Sydney broadcasts the Shute Shield. One can only speculate whether QLD broadcast networks may show interest in covering the competition moving forward.
The ABC QLD is the most recent broadcast network to cover club rugby in the QLD South East, with the 2006 finals series being the last free to air coverage in recent memory.
It’s easier said than done, of course, but a return to mainstream TV would be a wonderful step forward.
Competition Takes Shape
Souths, GPS, Easts and University seem to be the front runners in terms of form after seven rounds.
Bond, Wests, Sunnybank, Norths and Brothers have been patchy.
This seems to be a closely fought contest so far. No teams are undefeated and anyone can win on their day.
Bring on Winter.