Tight Coastal tussle falls Tweed's way
THE Tweed Seagulls have outlasted the Burleigh Bears in their Intrust Super Cup Rivalry Round clash at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
Some late tries saw a final score of 24-8 but for the vast majority of the contest it was much closer than that.
The first 40 minutes saw just one try but plenty of entertaining football was played by both sides.
Burleigh created a number of opportunities most notably through line breaks from the likes of Jordan Rankin and Brendan Hoare but they couldnt convert them into points.
Matt Kings 12th minute intercept and 50 run to the right corner turned out to be the only points of the half, giving the Seagulls a narrow lead at the break.
A try to James Wood shortly after the break gave Tweed some breathing space but the Bears went back on the attack shortly after.
Burleigh managed to mount some pressure during this period and certainly had the better field position, but the Seagulls were terrific defending their line and their application through that period gave them the confidence to close out the match.
It was just a reflection of what we are this year, Seagulls coach Aaron Zimmerle said.
They had four/five sets pretty much back-to-back on our line and as a group the boys just showed that they are a resilient bunch.
The Bears eventually broke through in the 60th minute when they went through the hands and Steve Michaels finished in the corner, but it was largely undone two minutes later when Michaels dropped a bomb that was swooped on by Tom Merritt, taking the margin back out to 10.
They kept pressing the Tweed line, but Burleigh couldnt break through the Seagulls defence.
A barnstorming try to Seagulls prop Josh Coyle in the 70th put the result beyond doubt.
Brad Lees (Tweed) and Jordan Atkins (Bears) both picked up tries in the last five minutes to round out the scoring.
The win means the Seagulls hold eighth spot, but the congested nature of the ladder means they are just one point out the five and well and truly in finals contention.
Zimmerle praised the effort of some of his young players who have stood up in the absence of some more experienced personnel.
Weve blooded quite a few young guys as a result of losing important guys like Beau Henry to season ending injuries, but young guys like Michael Burgess, Tom Dawney and the like already look like established Cup players and theyve only played half a season, he said.
To see them already fill that role as 21 year old kids is sensational for this club. They might make an error here and there, but they can win us games as well.
Whatever happens for the rest of this year well continue to threaten and I reckon there are a few teams sitting above us that dont really want to play us.
Again it was his sides struggle to get the little things right that frustrated Bears coach Carl Briggs.
The Bears poor completion rate kept them out of the contest in the second half against Wynnum-Manly last week and it was a problem again this week.
Completing sets and sticking to our structures was a problem again today. Their desire was greater than ours at time, he said.
Our end of set options werent great either. Were getting to the fifth tackle and losing our way a little bit - playing a bit too much off the cuff - which has been spoken about a number times but we seem to keep doing it which isnt good enough.
A positive sight for Burleigh was the return of Jamie Dowling in the centres.
Jamie, who debuted for the Gold Coast Titans earlier this year, has missed much of the season through injury and he was strong in his first game back in Bears colours.
Jamies a quality footballer. Hes had quite a while out and to be fair weve missed him. He played well today in his first game back, Briggs said.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 24 (Brad Lees, James Wood, Tom Merritt, Josh Coyle, Matt King tries; Brad Lees 2 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 8 (Jordan Atkins, Steve Michaels tries) at Pizzey Park.