Influential displays by Kurt Baptiste and Phil Dennis have helped Souths Logan Magpies come from behind to defeat the Redcliffe Dolphins 30-20 in Round 17 of the Intrust Super Cup.
Baptiste and Dennis were lively throughout the match with three tries and one try assist between them, spoiling Petero Civoniceva's return for Dolphins, as the NRL legend started from the bench in his second outing for Redcliffe since the Pacific Test in early May.
Coming off a bye, the Dolphins were slow to start as the Magpies raced to an early 12-0 lead. The home side squandered their advantage by conceding 20 unanswered points either side of half-time to hand the initiative back to the visitors.
The Magpies struck back with a try inside the final 15 minutes of the match to only trail by two points before Souths piled on a further two tries to seal the contest and keep themselves within striking distance of the top five.
The Northern Pride have taken a stranglehold on the minor premiership, their 42-4 win over the Capras giving them a five-point break at the top of the table with a postponed game against Easts Tigers still in hand.
Tweed Heads couldn't produce a ninth straight victory against Burleigh but they didn't walk away empty handed, the Bears clawing their way back in the second half to earn a 16-all draw at Piggabeen.
Easts Tigers survived an early morning earthquake and a hostile home crowd to climb into the top five with a 22-16 win over the PNG Hunters, Wynnum Manly dusted Sunshine Coast 38-10 and Marmin Barba scored twice as Ipswich returned to the winners' circle with a 36-10 defeat of Norths Devils.
At Redcliffe an early penalty against the Dolphins for accidental offside allowed Souths an opportunity to opening the scoring after five minutes, but they were denied by the video referee for a knock-on over the line.
There was no denying Souths rake Kurt Baptiste in the 10th minute after a scheming dart from dummy-half close to the line allowed the former Brisbane Bronco – now contracted to the Canberra Raiders – a try that gave the Magpies a 6-0 lead.
Souths' surge in the opening exchanges continued when five-eighth Phil Dennis found the try line and Patrick Mago added the extras for a deserved 12-0 lead.
The Dolphins began to find their feet in the contest after the 25-minute mark and it took a clever 40/20 kick by Adrian Davis to help propel Redcliffe back into the contest.
From the resulting quick-tap, the ball found Aaron Whitchurch who strolled over for a try taking the score to 16-4.
Redcliffe produced quick-fire back-to-back tries with Jake Marketo crossing under the posts after collecting a grubber kick and another try to Zach Strasser, who backed up a 60-metre run by fullback Paul Byrnes, took the scoreboard to 16-12 in favour of the visitors.
The Magpies had a late opportunity to strike back on the stroke of half-time, but a misplaced pass that went into touch ensured the score would remain the same at the break.
The second stanza saw Souths start in the same fast fashion as the first, as they held territorial advantage for the opening 10 minutes but were unable to convert their opportunities to points despite having three clear-cut chances.
Those missed chances ended up costing the Magpies dearly as Byrnes spotted a gap in the Magpies' defensive line to cross out wide to take the score to 20-12 in the 54th minute.
The home side stopped the rot with a try to winger Tim Brooks in the corner after clever lead-up play by Baptiste, the sideline conversion by Mago ensured a grandstand finish would ensue with the score reading 20-18 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Both sides started to find space through tired defence in the middle of the park and it took a penalty to Souths to allow the home side a shot at victory. The next set saw Dennis step off his left foot to allow himself space close to the Dolphins' line allowing the hulking pivot the required space to crash over the line.
Another late try to Mitch Cronin sealed the deal for Souths as they ran away with a 30-20 victory to keep their finals hopes alive and make it increasingly difficult for the Dolphins to taste September action.
Souths Logan Magpies 30 (Phil Dennis 2, Kurt Baptiste, Tim Brooks, Mitch Cronin tries; Patrick Mago 5 goals) def. Redcliffe Dolphins 20 (Aaron Whitchurch, Jake Marketo, Zach Strasser, Paul Byrnes tries; Adrian Davis 2 goals) at Davies Park, Brisbane. Half-time: Redcliffe 16-12. XXXX Man of the Match: Phil Dennis.
For the full results of Round 17 and the updated Intrust Super Cup table click here.