Sunshine Coast coach Brad Henderson is hopeful his team has received a much-needed "shot in the arm", after the Falcons ended a recent losing streak in a fierce battle with the Brisbane Tigers on Sunday.
The long and thrilling rivalry between the two Melbourne Storm affiliate clubs recorded an exciting new chapter in Round 14, as the two teams went toe-to-toe at Totally Workwear Stadium.
Decided by just two points, it was the Falcons who claimed a 20-18 victory, but it was not a win that came easily, with the Tigers really hitting their straps in the final 20 minutes of the game.
In a gritty, grinding showdown, the Sunshine Coast had to go to another level in defence to keep the Tigers out and Henderson said after the match that while it wasn't pretty, it was exactly the type of win his team needed as they push for this year's finals series.
"The heart’s starting to slow down a little bit," Henderson said after the nail-biting finish, with the Tigers finding two late tries through Tom Rafter and Tristan Powell.
"It’s a win we needed and against a team that’s going really good. It's hard to beat these guys anywhere but beating them at home, that’s good for us.
"Just to move forward again is really good. We’re still not playing smart. I know we can play better but to tough out a win like that is really good for us.
"I hope this is the shot in the arm we need. I think it will be. We just needed to feel good about ourselves again and that becomes a bit infectious."
Henderson was particularly impressed with the efforts of his forward pack, as well as his new-look spine.
Young backrower Jack Howarth (main image) said Henderson's message ahead of the game made it very clear how much the Falcons needed to win, after racking up back-to-back losses to Redcliffe, Mackay and Townsville over the past month.
Having also drawn with Central Queensland four weeks ago, it was Sunshine Coast's first win since Round 8 in early May.
"Hendo spoke to us before the game and said this game was really important. I think we all knew that it was really important anyway," Howarth said.
"We needed that win... We wanted to make this one personal. You want to get it over the other lads. It was good to hold in there and get that win.
"It’s always a pretty personal game between the two feeder clubs but both teams had a lot of effort and we were lucky to get the end result.
"In the last 25 minutes, the tables turned and they had a really good roll on us but we were lucky to hold in there. We showed good resilience."
The Falcons will look to back their effort up next week against the PNG Hunters on the Sunshine Coast, while the Tigers will look to avoid three straight losses when they take on the Ipswich Jets at North Ipswich Reserve.
Originally published on QRL.com.au by Rikki-Lee Arnold.