Seagulls Become Undisputed Champions In Townsville
Author : Tweed SeaGulls
The Tweed Seagulls can lay claim to being the best under-age statewide team in Queensland after securing back-to-back Mal Meninga Cup (under-18) titles with a 30-24 victory over the previously unbeaten Townsville Blackhawks on the Blackhawks’ home soil yesterday.
In a pulsating game of brilliant attack and desperate defence, the underdog Seagulls were inspired to lift themselves for absent forward leader Jack Cullen, their family group of supporters who had to abandon their trip to Townsville on the morning of the game because of a flight delay and the strong mateship within Tim Maccan’s squad.
Tweed conceded a try in the first minute to be 6-0 behind before touching the ball but led 20-6 just 20 minutes later and 20-12 at half-time. Yet they had to come from 24-20 behind with seven minutes remaining to match the feat of the 2019 side that went on to become national champions.
The players ran out with the name of their mate ‘Cully’ written on their wrists in a message to take the trophy home to Cullen, the competition’s leading metre-eater who was controversially suspended for a “probable crusher tackle” in the semi-final win against Souths Logan.
They were faced with a setback, however, in the first set of the match when Blackhawks prop Damon Marshall split the right edge defence open and sent halfback Tom Duffy in for a try.
After absorbing a lot of pressure in the next 10 minutes, the Seagulls’ response was emphatic when it began in the 12th minute on the back of a neat grubber into the in-goal from five-eighth half Harradyn Wilson that gained repeat possession from a line-dropout.
Right centre Deine Mariner soon after showed great footwork and desire to make the line from dummy-half to put the Seagulls on the scoreboard.
During the next set from the kick-off outstanding hooker Oscar Bryant busted the defence line wide open from dummy half from inside Tweed’s half and head-geared fullback Jaylan De Groot pushed up brilliantly to finish off a 70-metre raid by crossing under the posts.
At the 20-minute mark Wilson laid on a pin-point pass at the line to put second-rower Brock Priestley through a narrow gap 10 metres out and his try was converted by halfback and skipper Tom Weaver for an 18-6 lead.
A Weaver penalty goal made it 20-6 before Blackhawks hooker Tyreice Baira-Gela burrowed through the middle of the ruck after talking a tap restart just over a minute before the break to give Townsville renewed confidence, going into the sheds at 20-12.
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