Rugby League can be a wonderful game, however it can also be a cruel game and that cruelty was on display on Sunday when the Wynnum Manly Seagulls traveled to Suzuki Stadium for their Round 6 clash with the Easts Tigers.
Wynnum were hoping to celebrate Peter Gubb’s 100 Intrust Super Cup game with a win and in so doing end a 6 game losing streak and register their first win for 2016. However it was not to be as the home side completely outclassed them 30-18.
The Tigers did not escape the cruelty though, the win coming at a huge cost, with strike weapons Ash Little (ruptured Achilles) and Jeremy Hawkins (hamstring) suffering serious injuries that could see them miss long periods.
Wynnum Manly thought they had the first try of the day to Peter Gubb, however it was called back for a forward pass and that was as close as they would get in the first half. The Tigers forwards led by Dane Hogan, Dean Britt and debutant Matt White were far too strong and made meters at will.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Jeremy Hawkins collected a lovely pass from Brentt Warr and running an outside in line, beat the drifting defence to score beside the posts. Billy Walters converted for a 6-0 lead.
Suliasi Vunivalu was the next to score, in the 24th minute, as he displayed the pace and power he is becoming known for. Walters converted and the Tigers had extended their lead to 12-0.
Guy Hamilton, in only his second Intrust Super Cup game, showed a very cool head to position Billy Walters for the next try. Brentt Warr put up a lovely chip kick which Hamilton swooped on. Realising that he would not make line himself he committed Wynnum fullback Patrick Templeman and, at the last possible moment, passed to Walters who scampered 20m to score in front of the scoreboard to take the lead to 16-0.
Vunivalu was at it again in the 39th minute, taking the ball from dummy half and beating four defenders in a powerful 30m charge to the try line. The kick was waved away and the Tigers took a commanding 20-0 lead to the break.
Jon Buchanans’ half time message to his troops was sharp and pointed – they were better than us in every aspect of the game and we must improve.
His charges responded in style, with tries to Stephen Coombe (43rd minute) and Patrick Templeman (47th minute). The Templeman try in particular was a beauty with Mathew Seamark running to the line and bringing the defence to him, before popping the pass back to Templeman who had inserted himself into the attack at just the right time.
Seamark converted both tries and within 10 minutes Wynnum Manly had reduced the deficit to 20-12.
Ash White also suffered an injury early in the second half and replacing him with Matt White, in the 50th minute, used up the Tigers last interchange. The 13 players on the field would have to battle out the remainder of the half without respite.
After that the Tigers got back into control and Wynnum were not to trouble the scorer again till the 60th minute, when former NZ Warrior Alehana Mara, wearing the number 3 but playing dummy half, darted over. Seamark converted after the siren to take the final score to 30-18.
The Tigers had good players across the field with Matt White, Dane Hogan and Francis Taulau particularly impressive in the forwards. In the backs Guy Hamilton, Jamie Anderson and Vunivalu were all good. Coach Scott Sipple will be sweating on the return of injured players Shane Neumann and Javarn White to compensate for the players injured this weekend as he prepares his team for another tough road trip, this time to Cairns.
Wynnum, though they were outclassed on the day, never stopped trying; big Jon Grieve, Alex Barr and Peter Gubb were amongst their best. They will all need to be at their best next week as they too are on the road to Ipswich.
Easts Tigers 30 (Vunivalu 2, Walters, Anderson, White, Hawkins tries. Walters 3 goals) def Wynnum Manly 18 (Coombe, Templeman, Mara tries. Seamark 3 goals).
18. Leon Elli-Niukore 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Jamie Anderson 4. Jeremy Hawkins 5. Michael Kai 9. Billy Walters 7. Brentt Warr 8. Francis Taulau 17. Chris Ostwald 10. Matt Zgrajewski 11. Jake Foster 12. Dane Hogan © 13. Dean Britt 6. Guy Hamilton 14. Matt White 15. Ash Little 16. Luke Lavelle
Wynnum Manly Seagulls:
1. Patrick Templeman © 2. Peter Gubb 3. Mitchell Cronin 4. Dan Wallace 19. Daniel Ogden 6. Matt Smith 7. Mathew Seamark 8.Magnus Stromquist 14. Mitchell Moore 10. Ben Shea 11. Alex Barr 12. Jon Grieve 19.Aaron Rockley 3. Alehana Mara 15. Tim Natusch 16. Stephen Coombe 17. S Funaki