By Liam Emerton
The Rockhampton Leagues Club Central Queensland Capras have continued their quest for the Hostplus Cup after earning a huge comeback victory over Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
The match was taken to Stradbroke Island for the first time since 2018 to help support Deadly Choices, an Indigenous health initiative and organisation.
The match started well for our Capras when Radean Robinson and Brandon Roberts crossed in the eighth and 16th minutes respectively.
Just six minutes after Roberts’ try, Robinson found his way to the tryline again but with Trey Browne’s aim off, those three tries only gave the Capras a 12-0 lead.
That gave the Seagulls plenty of hope and soon after Luke Bateman crossed for their opener before Tristan Hope scored with five minutes of the opening half left.
One successful Max Plath conversion made the score 12-10 which is what it remained at the break.
After the half-time period a gruelling 14 minutes followed before Hope broke the Capras defence again, handing the Seagulls their first lead of the contest.
Trailing 16-10 the Capras needed a spark but it looked like they were out of answers when Sam Scarlett crossed four minutes later.
The home side still led 22-12 with just nine minutes on the clock before Central Queensland finally broke their dry streak.
Roberts once again crossed, earning his second of the contest, and bringing huge hope to the side.
Again a missed conversion kept the Capras to just 22-18 despite having scored the same amount of tries as their opposition.
But Roberts’ try was the momentum boost the Central Queensland squad needed.
Captain Jack Madden drove straight to the line and put Nixon Putt through a massive gap, leaving the second rower in open pasture.
Putt threw a huge dummy to his left to beat the Seagulls’ fullback and scored to give the Capras a chance at levelling the contest.
Blake Moore slotted home the Capras’ first conversion of the afternoon, bringing the travellers to a 22-22 draw.
But our lads weren’t settling for a draw. As the Seagulls attacked Moore telegraphed a pass and ran 60 metres before having the ball stripped in the tackle.
That could have been the death blow for the Capras if it hadn’t been for Curtis Dansey-Smaller getting another intercept in the same passage of play.
Dansey-Smaller passed the ball to his winger Jedidiah Simbiken who was then tackled and held down purposely, giving the Capras a chance at a penalty goal.
With the way the Capras had been kicking off the tee there were certainly no guarantees but the experience of Browne was enough to deal with the pressure, giving the Capras a 24-22 win.
Incredibly, one of the touch judges waved the conversion off, however the referee overruled him to give the Capras a hard-fought victory.
The huge win pushed Central Queensland back up to third on the ladder, keeping them embedded in the top eight.
The CQ side returns home to Browne Park this weekend to take on the Townsville Blackhawks in what is shaping up to be a classic match.