RUGBY LEAGUE: The warning signals have been activated at Sunshine Coast HQ after the state league side crashed to yet another defeat, with finals just around the corner.
The Craig Ingebrigtsen-coached unit dropped just two matches in the opening 14 rounds of the competition but has since lost five of eight games to slip to fourth on the 14-team ladder.
An ugly 18-10 deficit to 11th-placed Norths at Bokarina on Saturday only served to highlight the Falcons' worrying trend.
"It's definitely a concern,” captain Dane Hogan said. "It's been a disappointing month of footy for us.”
"We've got the bye this week so we probably need to go and have a hard look at ourselves and see if we want to be a real competitor in the finals.”
His side is likely to feature in the post-season later this month but at this rate, it won't last long there.
And the Falcons won't be satisfied with that.
"Probably the Sunny Coast team a few years back would have just been content in making the finals...” he said.
"(But we are) definitely not. We didn't start training back in November to get to the finals and get knocked out in week one.”
The captain was nursing a corked shoulder after the loss to the Devils, in which the host coughed up possession and failed to make the most of opportunities.
"It's just the fundamentals of the game, like dropped balls from dummy half, just basic stuff that as Queensland Cup players we need to get better at,” he said. "To tell you the truth, there wasn't really many positives to take out of the game.”
The Falcons scored midway through the opening half when Melbourne-contracted prop Tui Kamikamica squeezed a pass through three tacklers to hooker Alex Bishop, who rushed over from 5m out.
But Norths levelled when prop John Palavi brushed aside defenders to score after a succession of penalties and line drop-outs. A 6-6 half-time deadlock was broken in the 61st minute when Falcons winger Alex Copelin dived into the corner but the conversion attempt was missed by Guy Hamilton and the Devils hit the front with nine minutes remaining when a grubber from halfback Gary Riccardi found centre Luke Pollock.
Norths sealed the deal late when Copelin was trapped in goal and a loose ball was pounced on by Pollock.
The Devils line-up contained ball-player Haydan Lipp, who was signed by Norths before the mid-season cut-off, after struggling for game time behind a bevy of halves at the Falcons.
Sunshine Coasters Tom and Louis Geraghty played in the back-row for the Falcons.
"It would have been a proud moment for the family,” Hogan said. "It was probably not the result that they would have wanted but it's good to see the brothers having a run together.”
The Falcons dressing room door was pushed wide open by club staff as Norths players belted out their team song from down the hall.
LADDER: PNG 37, Redcliffe 34, Easts 33, Sunshine Coast 31, Souths Logan 30, Townsville 28, Ipswich 26, Mackay 24, Wynnum Manly 22, Burleigh 22, Norths 18, Northern 14, Central Queensland 13, Tweed Heads 12.
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