Mustangs off the mark in Mal Meninga Cup
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Western Mustangs Mal Meninga Cup campaign is officially underway for 2018 after a solid 30-22 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Gold Park. .
The victory marks their first of the year, lifting them up to 10th on the ladder, ahead of their match against Burleigh next weekend.
After Benji Neliman opened the scoring in the sixth minute, a resurgence from the Falcons saw them open up a 16-4 advantage, before a Jordan Lipp double and a further four-pointer to Jake Simpkin helped the home side to a 18-16 half-time lead.
The second half belonged to the Mustangs, as a try to captain Luke Maiden inside two minutes stretched the lead, with Richard Murray icing the game midway through the stanza.
Mustangs chairman Paul Reedy said the maiden win for the year was a credit to the efforts of the U18s side.
"It's always pleasing for them when they win, especially in front of the home crowd with family and friends watching,” Reedy said.
"It was still a bit choppy, but they had enough talent to get away with the game.
"The combinations are there, and they had an opportunity that went their way, then scored off the kick-off.
"It gave our blokes momentum and they continued rolling with it.”
Reddy said the front row led the charge for the Mustangs, as they overpowered the Falcons.
"Jordan Croker and Luke Maiden were outstanding. When they're going forward, the whole team goes forward,” he said.
"We want Luke leading from the front, which is what he did.
"Jake Simpkin had a blinder. He was great in defence and was everywhere.”
The news wasn't all good for the Mustangs, with fullback Alex Dunemann spending the night in hospital overnight, however he has been cleared of any breaks in his neck or back, and is expected to miss a few weeks.
In the Hastings Deering Colts competition, the Western Mustangs went down 32-14.
The home side was able to overcome an early 10-0 defecit, as tries to Willie Duncan, Dylan Quinn and Tuia Eliu gave them a narrow lead with 22 minutes to play, however five tries in the concluding stages saw the Falcons come away with the spoils.