Hawks to tackle moment of truth
SPRINGFIELD Hawks face a season-defining match when they take on Brisbane Irish this weekend.
The Hawks lost 24-12 to second-placed Redlands at Springfield Lakes on Saturday, but were in the match until the final minutes.
They trailed 19-12 with three minutes remaining and were attacking the Redlands line when a dropped ball was scooped on and the visitors raced 90m to seal their win.
It denied the Hawks a bonus point for a loss by less than eight points.
"I'm happy with the performance," Springfield coach Jeremy Clark said.
"We did well against probably the team of the competition."
Clark, a front rower, felt for his forward pack, who he said had done enough to deserve a win, only to be let down by a reshuffled backline.
"It was tough on our forwards," he said. "We dominated their forward pack.
"It was just our backs who let us down on numerous occasions."
Two Hawks backs pulled out just before kick-off due to work commitments and the new combinations struggled.
"The boys dug in and were in it for 77 minutes," Clark said.
"The forwards did the hard work, but then we'd drop the ball or something."
The Hawks Queensland Subdistricts fullback Joe Leulu-Brown was an exception at five-eighth.
Clark rated him one of his team's best, along with back row duo Zac Subritzky and Fizz Matamua.
Ipswich Rangers' 90-0 win over Pine Rivers at Woodend on Saturday means Rangers overtake Springfield into third spot.
Springfield holds a five-point buffer over fifth-placed Brisbane Irish, who lost 19-12 to leaders Wynnum on Saturday.
A win for Springfield over the Irish at Everton Park on Saturday could secure them a semi-final spot with one round left after that.
Rangers' huge win in the Barber Cup was offset by a 55-7 loss to Pine Rivers in the reserve grade game.
It seemed a strange reversal of form for the club, leading to suspicions the Boars have stacked their lower-grade side at the expense of their first-grade team.
That was certainly Clark's take on the situation. He suspects it has been done to give the Boars a better chance of winning the Pegg Cup, with their first-grade side out of the running in the Barber Cup.
"The QRU is going to have to look at that," Clark said.
"At the end of the year teams are starting to do that."
Rangers centre Jared Lacey doesn't think it is as bad as that, however, despite the ease of his team's win. Lacey scored 33 points himself form two tries and 11 goals from 13 attempts.
Rangers believe beating Pine Rivers by 90 was a good way to prepare to face Redlands next weekend.
"We just stuck to our processes and managed to do what we'd trained to do," he said.
"It was the same thing last time.
"We flogged Pine Rivers then came out and beat Redlands."