A dominate first half performance set the Sunshine Coast Falcons up for a big 30-6 win over Easts Tigers in their Round 6 top-of-the-table clash at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Match: Falcons v Tigers
Round 6 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
There was plenty of Melbourne Storm talent on display as the club’s two feeder teams faced off on a historic day for the Sunshine Coast, as locals and visitors alike filed through the gates in droves to watch Round 5 NRL clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
It was again an outstanding start from the home side as the Falcons kicked things off with an impressive backline movement that began with Harry Grant and found its way out to the right side wing involving Todd Murphy, Nicho Hynes and Siti Moceidreke before landing in the waiting hands of Nat McGavin who still had a little work to do to push his way over the line for first points.
Murphy was unsuccessful with the conversion, leaving the score to 4-0 after four minutes.
The next points came just four minutes later after Falcons captain Dane Hogan gave a classy inside ball to Murphy to score, who converted his own try to take the score to 10-0 after eight minutes.
Hooker Grant was looking extra sharp out of dummy half for the home side and despite a shower of rain that resulted in slippery conditions, the Falcons were looking sharp in both attack and defence.
Falcons coach Eric Smith had plenty of praise for his dummy half after the game.
“The amount of work that Harry does through the middle is unbelievable,” he said.
“I’ve been working with Harry for four years now and he’s just so tough, leading the way with line speed and then shows so much finesse in attack.
“You just know what to expect from Harry, he just performs like that week after week.”
The first genuine attacking chance from Tigers was thwarted just metres from Sunshine Coast’s try line through an intercept from Falcons centre Justin Olam.
In the 24th minute, the Falcons were back in the scoring column after a kick to the in goal was collected cleanly by backrower Chris Lewis.
Murphy was successful with the conversion, taking the score to 16-0.
The Tigers upped the intensity towards the back end of the first half with the introduction of Sam Foster, Sam Lavea and Jack Svendsen.
The Falcons defence however held strong and the teams went to the break with the home side leading 16-0.
The Falcons started the second half in almost identical fashion to the first, scoring the first points after just one minute during the Falcons first attacking set.
It was a familiar play, as Hynes delivered the ball to MacGavin and the winger went over in the corner.
Murphy was successful with the conversion further extending the lead to 22-0, just two minutes into the second half.
Despite a high-quality Falcons defensive effort, fellow ladder leaders the Easts Tigers were unlike themselves throughout the match with a disjointed attacking display.
A fleet-footed Grant burst out of dummy half at the 50th minute before producing a polished flick pass to Cooper Johns who was caught just metres from the try line. An offside penalty in the next play gifted the Falcons another two points placing the home side further in front 24-0.
A few minutes later, the Falcons were down to 12 men after Schonig was sinbinned in the 58th minute for a professional foul, but the Falcons were valiant in defence – preventing the Tigers from scoring despite quality field position.
The home side were even able to score points whilst Schonig was in the bin, with Johns delivering another quality inside ball to Grant who ran around to improve the kicking position before placing the ball down under the posts.
Murphy converted taking the score to 30 nil in the sixty-fourth minute.
“To defend our line from repeated attacks the way that we did after Schonig left the field and then head to the other end and score points, it just speaks volumes about our defence and willingness to work hard for each other,” Smith said post match.
The Tigers missed out on an attacking chance when backrower Patrick Kaufusi broke the line only to be denied points for a double movement.
The visitors only points of the match came as hooker Aaron Booth dived over the line in the dying stages of the game. He converted his own try to take the final score to 30-6.
Coach Smith was also full of praise for Hynes and Murphy.
“Nicho was polished again with his touches and Todd was the little general today, directing us around the park and controlling the match.”
The Sunshine Coast Falcons are now sole leaders of the Intrust Super Cup after an impressive six wins from six games in season 2019.
Next week, they play the Capras at Browne Park; while Easts hosts Souths Logan Magpies.