GPS hammer Easts, set up grand final rematch

by Sam Phillips

GPS have booked a rematch with University of Queensland in the Queensland Premier Rugby decider, hammering a hapless Easts outfit 52-14 in Sunday's preliminary final.

The Gallopers outpointed the Tigers at every turn but it was their work through the middle of the field which caught the eye.

Led superbly by captain Michael Richards, hat trick hero Mitch King and star halfback James Tuttle, GPS crashed over the gain line with regularity, winning the contact battle with consistency.

That allowed flyhalf Tavita Davis and outside centre Jaye Thompson to thrive, nullifying Easts' power packed midfield.James Tuttle starred for GPS. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelIt was Tuttle who drew first blood for the Gallopers, a slick play from their first attacking lineout in Tigers territory producing the points.

Sam Richards duly responded for Easts through a tearaway maul, levelling the scores 10 minutes into the match, but that would be as close as the Tigers came to the runaway winners all afternoon.

A dodgy Tyrell Barker tackle was the catalyst for GPS' second, King busting the line, palming the cover defence and dotting the ball down to put his side back in front.

JP Smith trotted off with an injury the 21st minute and while Fred Burke is as capable a replacement as any it was King who again outworked the Tigers through contact to slam the ball down after being initially held up from a pick and go.

Liam Wright was then sent to the sin bin for pulling down a try line bound maul two minutes later and in the 10 minutes he was in the chair, Jeeps piled 19 points on their opponents.Albert Nikoro and Jeeps were far too good for the Tigers. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelSome shoddy Easts defence allowed Tavita Davis the opportunity to add his name to the score sheet, Tuttle slotting the conversion after the half time siren to open up a 26-7 lead.

King had a hat trick when play resumed - his 12th five pointer of the season - diving over at the back of a maul after Richards split the line with a loping burst.

The floodgates had opened and clean ball to speedster Josh Collins turned into more Gallopers points - Savenaca Totovosua found wanting on the fringe - before Tuttle nabbed a double of his own with 25 to play.

The two sides traded consolation tries at the death, the result decided long before the final siren run out at Ballymore.

Having duked out an enthralling major semi final and a similarly thrilling grand final this time last year, next Sunday's decider between Jeeps and University shapes as another beauty.

The finalists in both Canberra and Melbourne were also decided this weekend, Melbourne beating Moorabbin to set up a showdown with harlequin, Vikings to face Royals in the John I Dent Cup decider after flogging Gungahlin.

The Shute Shield finalists have also been decided - Sydney Uni claiming the minor premiership.

RESULTS

QUEENSLAND PREMIER RUGBY

GPS 52

Tries: Tuttle 2, King 3, Davis, Collins, Strauss

Cons: Tuttle 6

Pens:

Easts 14

Tries: S Richards, Ozane

Cons: Sefton 2

Pens:

SHUTE SHIELD

Manly 27 - Eastwood 27

Norths 36 - Randwick 19

Souths 39 - Warringah 40

West Harbour 62 - Parramatta 7

Sydney Uni 66 - Gordon 21

FINALS FIXTURES

Sydney University (1) vs Easts (6)

Warringah (3) vs Manly (4)

Norths (2) vs Eastwood (6)

DEWAR SHIELD

Melbourne 36 - Moorabbin 7

GF - Harlequin vs Melbourne

JOHN I DENT CUP

Vikings 58 - Eagles 7

GF - Royals vs Vikings

FORTESCUE PREMIER GRADE

Premiership Division

Nedlands 33 - Wests Scarborough 36

Cottesloe 17 - Associates 22

Joondalup 35 - Kalamunda 62

Championship Division

Southern Lions 12 - UWA 22

Wanneroo 29 - Coastal Cavaliers 35

ARKs 46 - Palmyra 13