Five things we learnt from StoreLocal Hospital Cup Round 1

Mon, Apr 8, 2024, 11:44 PM
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker

Round 1 of the StoreLocal Hospital Cup is in the books. We take a look at the biggest talking points from the opening weekend of action.

1 FLEXI FLYHALVES

Liam McNamara (Sunnybank), Taj Annan (Souths) and Moses Sorovi (Wests) might not be specialist flyhalves but all stepped up.What they proved again in winning sides in Round 1 is that good footballers with sharp brains, a sharp pass and a savvy, composed style can excel in the playmaker role.

Former Australian sevens player McNamara staked a strong claim to be player-of-the-round. He scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes to inspire Sunnybank’s huge 18-15 upset of 2023 minor premiers Bond University on the Gold Coast.

He’s versatile too…a pick-and-go for one and running an inside support line for the second. Halfback Sorovi steered Wests and scored the opening two tries as well. The versatile Annan threw the pass on the short side for the opening George Francis try at Chipsy Wood Oval. He was a flyhalf to finish school but his career since has been a mix of centre, fullback and occasionally flyhalf.

2 FESTIVAL OF FLANKERS

Fraser McReight might have a lock on the No.7 jersey at the Reds but he heads a classy brigade of opensides around the competition.

Souths’ Kohan Herbert started 2024 with a bang with two tries against Norths while productive GPS flanker Matt Gicquel was in everything when the Gallopers pack went into overdrive to dominate Easts in the second half at Ashgrove.

3 VALUE OF THE QUICK TAP

On heavy fields in Round 1, the value of the quick tap to get an opponent on the backfoot was obvious around the grounds.

No quick tap was more valuable than that from GPS fullback Floyd Aubrey just before half-time at Ashgrove. He stepped off his left foot and punched by two defenders in a quick 15m burst to the tryline that gave his team the half-time edge and the momentum for a big second half.

4 SON OF A GUN

Henry Holt made a positive debut at fullback for the Tigers at Ashgrove.

The tall Villanova product is the son of 1993 Rothmans Medallist Graham Holt, a club legend who won premierships in firsts, seconds, thirds and fourths across three different decades.

The Tigers might have been well beaten 35-15 by GPS but several old Tigers kept their sense of humour when Holt made two tackles in quick succession.

One turned to Holt senior in the crowd and chirped: “You made four tackles in nine years so Henry’s catching you quick.”

Few scored as many tries as Holt so he had an easy comeback if he wanted one.

5 SURPRISE BULLDOG

It’s good to see hooker Ethan Dobbins is still such a fierce Bulldog. He wasn’t named in the original Wests starting XV but the Melbourne Rebels squad hooker still found his way to Sci-Fleet Stadium.

He careered into open space when he swooped onto a loose long lineout throw from UQ and fans went nuts for a crowd favourite.

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