RUGBY LEAGUE: The Sunshine Coast Falcons gave 2200 people in attendance at Sunshine Coast Stadium yesterday a reason to return following a stunning 30-10 annihilation of the PNG Hunters.
It marked the club's first regular season Intrust Super Cup victory since last July and gave fans a lot to cheer about in their six-try romp against the second-placed Hunters. The woeful ball control that stifled their attack over the past month was nowhere to be seen as the Falcons completed 85% of their sets for the match.
Melbourne Storm recruit Ben Hampton starred for the Coast side after scoring three tries, including the Falcons' first two of the match to get them ahead 12-6 after the Kawana-based outfit trailed 6-0 in the third minute.
But it wasn't just Hampton's attacking prowess in leading his team around the park that gave him man-of-the-match honours.
The 22-year-old's kicking game was superb with his boot constantly pinning the Hunters inside their own 10m line.
"I wouldn't have been able to do that without the help of my teammates and they all played really well today," Hampton said.
"Our ball control was a lot better today which proved to be the difference and the way the boys defended out there was very good too."
Having nine or so Melbourne Storm members fly up each week on game day had made it difficult for the players to gel over their first three games of the year.
However, that lack of cohesion was non-existent as the Falcons put together their first complete 80 minutes of football in recent memory to beat one of the best teams in the competition convincingly.
"I got to train with the boys for the first time yesterday but we have never wanted to use that as an excuse," Hampton said.
"We are becoming more familiar with each other and things started to click today but we still have a lot of work to do."
Coach Glen Dreger wielded the axe following his side's 36-10 loss to Ipswich last week in a sign that his patience was beginning to wear thin.
Front-rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona was unstoppable and was the best forward on the paddock with the 18-year-old even showing up teammate and NSW and Australian rep Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.
But it was Hampton who received the most praise from Dreger after a performance that had future NRL star stamped all over it.
"His presence at training yesterday just changed the whole atmosphere, not just for the Falcons players, but for Melbourne players," Dreger said.
"He was outstanding today and I really hope that we can keep putting in performances like that so we can get him back in the NRL."
Courtesy of Anthony Brand of Sunshine Coast Daily