Tweed Heads Seagulls avoided the wooden spoon by defeating the minor premiers PNG Hunters for the second time this year, doing a very unlikely double over the competition leaders.
The Seagulls, who have been rooted to the bottom of the table for almost the entire season saved it until late to move off the bottom, but in the process have exposed one weakness in the Hunters that other sides may take advantage of. That being that the Hunters are not a very good side coming back from a deficit of 10 or more. Tweed Heads did it to them in Port Moresby earlier in the season, and the Hunters most recent prior defeat came at Redcliffe when the Dolphins blitzed them early and led 20-0 at half time.
Tweed Heads had all the running in the first half an hour as they crossed for three unanswered tries, and led 18-0 before the Hunter’s Ase Boas scored their first try of the match. A second to the increasingly superb Stargroth Amean tightened the score to 18-12 at half time.
The Seagulls were first to score after the break, and a further penalty gave them a 14 point lead, which given the collapse against the Pride last weekend would be keen not to repeat to avoid last. But avoid last they certainly did, as the Hunters scored just once more to get within 8 points of Tweed Heads.
Thankfully for the Hunters the Tweed Heads Seagulls aren’t in the finals, but perhaps you could see the loss coming given they had wrapped up the minor premiership last weekend and have bigger things on their mind.
Or maybe they are annoyed and distracted that none of their home finals will be televised to their fans around Queensland on Free to Air.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 26
Tries: Samuel Meskell (9m), Nicholas Harrold (18m), Jayden Baker (27m), Tristan Lumley (44m)
Goals: Lindon McGrady 4/4 Conv, 1 Pen
PNG HUNTERS 18
Tries: Ase Boas (33m), Stargroth Amean (38m), Wartovo Puara (62m)
Goals: Ase Boas 3/3 Conv
A celebration game for the PNG Hunters who wrapped up the minor premiership with a round to go last weekend when they beat the Wynnum Seagulls in Port Moresby, although that winning feeling may be dimmed a little with the news this week that the QRL intends to show none of their finals games on TV. That includes not getting a home final at all if they lose in the first finals match. A shame and more on that at another time.
But they won’t want to take this game lightly, as they play an opposition in tweed Heads who has already beaten them in Port Moresby this season, and have defeated the first placed team twice (PNG Hunters and Redcliffe) despite being stuck to the bottom of the ladder for just about every week since Round 1 of the Intrust Super Cup.
Tweed Heads need to win to avoid last, and they should feel they are within a chance of upsetting the Hunters given some of the above evidence, and the fact PNG Hunters only have pride to play for after being confirmed as minor premiers last week. Tweed Heads threw away the chance to avoid last by conceding two late tries to the Northern Pride.
But the PNG Hunters are not a side to take any game lightly, and they should finish off the season in style with a good win at Piggabeen this weekend.
Follow the big game via the QRL Website’s Live Stream of the game.
Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Jayden Baker 2. Brayden McGrady 3. James Wood 4. Regan Muir 5. Tevita Folau 6. Lindon McGrady 7. Phoenix Hunapo 8. Carne Doyle-Manga 9. Samuel Meskell (c) 10. Ben Nakubuwai 11. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave 12. Tristan Lumley 13. Nicholas Harrold 14. Keegan Hipgrave 15. Sam Carson 16. Jarrod Morfett 17. William Johnstone
Coach: Aaron Zimmerle
1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Israel Eliab 4. Adex Wera 5. Butler Morris 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Wellington Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Willie Minoga 12. Nixon Putt 13. Moses Meninga 14. Wawa Paul 15. Rahdly Brawa 16. Brandy Peter 17. Enock Maki 18. Karo Kauna Jr. 19. Silas Gahuna 20. Muka Peter Kalu
Coach: Michael Marum
|Piggabeen Sports Complex|
|1 Carramar Dr, Tweed Heads West NSW 2485, Australia|