Round 18 – Tigers 20 vs Falcons 24
20 – 24
Vantage Homes Falcons
|Patrice Siolo (c)
Falcons hold off comeback from the Tigers
Michael Nunn – QRL correspondent
The Brisbane Tigers and Sunshine Coast Falcons came together for the battle of the Melbourne Storm feeder clubs to see who could win the love of Craig Bellamy and the two points in the Hostplus Cup.
The Falcons had the jump on the Tigers, winning the last four encounters between the two clubs. Both teams had things hinging on a positive result.
The Falcons wouldn’t want to give the Central Queensland Capras a chance to overtake them with three games left and the Tigers are in ninth looking to climb aninto the top eight.
The Falcons rolled through their sets and Tyran Wishart found the ground with a short kick that rebounded nicely for Young Tonumaipea to pounce and score the Falcons’ first try.
It was the Falcons again that exposed some timid Tigers defence, when Wishart linked with his fullback Luke Polselli to put Tonumaipea away for his second try inside the first 10 minutes.
The Tigers kept giving ball to the Falcons and the Falcons took advantage of another mistake to score their third try.
The Falcons were attacking as a flock and from centre field Polselli backed up Sualauvi Faalogo inside to run around under the posts and score his eighth try this season.
The Falcons had all the running at 16-0.
It was simple but effective football that got the Tigers back in the game, after a run from Bennett Leslie, the Tigers attacked right and Tony Pellow straightened up the Tigers’ attack all the way to the try line.
Darren Nicholls laced the kick and things were a bit brighter for the Tigers at 16-6 with 10 minutes until half-time.
It was Leslie again that cut his way through the defence, even though he was rolled on his back and got a slow play the ball, the Tigers were able to attack to their left and Jayden Nikorima was able to bring the Falcons up to roll it behind them and Solomona Faataape score his 12th try for the Tigers.
At half-time both coaches would have had to revert to a different speech than the ones they had planned.
The Falcons had allowed the Tigers back in the game, while the Tigers had started poorly but come back and would be happy at 16-10 that they were building momentum into the second half.
The Falcons got their lead moving again when Ryan Turner strolled through after the Tigers defence came up too far.
Turner has proven a game changer this season coming off the bench for the Falcons and he had an impact again this week.
The Tigers were wobbling when Jack Howarth went through and ran 60 metres fending off Tigers he just couldn’t get across the line.
The Falcons took it further away from the Tigers with two points from a penalty making it 24-10 with 24 minutes left.
The Tigers stuck their paw in the door and stopped the Falcons from shutting it completely with a well-constructed try that committed the Falcons to the attack as they went along the line and found winger Bernard Gregorius to score in the corner.
If the comeback door was ajar before it was swinging open when Pellow again took it upon himself and took the short kick option for Nikorima to appear from nowhere and score under the posts; it was 24-20 and all the momentum was with the Tigers with six minutes to go.
That was where the Tigers comeback stopped and the Falcons hung on to record a 24-20 win.