The Tweed Seagulls have continued their rise up the Intrust Super Cup ladder with a 28-0 win over the Burleigh Bears in yesterday's XXXX Rivalry Round match at Pizzey Park.
After starting the season slowly, the Seagulls have now won four of their last six and now sit on the cusp of the top five in sixth.
Seagulls coach Aaron Zimmerle said a trip to PNG in round seven may have been the catalyst that got the team on the right track. The Seagulls lost that day but their attitude changed.
“You go away on a trip like that and the boys spend a lot of time together,” he said.
“It’s really tough to win over there because it’s not just the football, it’s everything else that goes into it as well and we seem to have come back with a little bit more of a steely determination from that trip. I think that showed last week against East and it was definitely on display today.”
The Seagulls dominated the entire contest and opened the scoring in the 12th minute through winger Tom Merritt.
Five minutes later Blake Anderson powered over in the corner while some brilliant hands in the lead up gave Merritt his second try on the stroke of halftime.
The Bears put up some resistance early in the second half, but a try to Kalifa Faifai Loa in the 61st minute put any miracle comeback hopes to bed.
A third try to Tom Merritt, this time a length of the field run after catching a bomb near his own line, and a 70th minute try to Beau Henry completed the shutout.
Post-match Zimmerle commended the work of his halves Henry and particularly Sam Irwin who was hit hard by Burleigh defenders on a number of occasions.
Back-rowers Tom Kingston and Cory Blair also won praise from their coach for their work on the edges.
Another point of interest for the game was the form of Gold Coast Titans hooker Matt Srama, who is on his way back from a shoulder injury.
“They sent a lot at him today and he was tackling like the Matty Srama of old,” Zimerle said.
“He was picking the big front rowers up and dumping them on their backs. That’s just a sign that he is feeling good about his shoulder and that’s a big challenge.
“For a little guy that will get spotted in defence, you need to know that you can physically commit to a tackle 100% because they’re expecting to come out the other side of you.”
For the Bears it was their first loss on home soil this season, ending a run of four straight home wins.
Briggs admitted his side was below par on the day, but said last week’s emotional ANZAC Day win over PNG took its toll.
“I’m not papering over any cracks, but to me the scheduling needs to be looked at,” Briggs said.
“You play rivalry round the week after you play PNG, when for the nine rounds so far whoever plays PNG gets a weekend off the week after.
“I’m not trying to move the blame anywhere else, there are certain things today from us like one-on-one misses that are unacceptable, but at the end of the day I’ve got a busted load of blokes in there that were flat today and there are reasons behind that.”
The Bears have the bye next weekend while Tweed is at home to the Northern Pride.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 28 (Tom Merritt 3, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Blake Anderson, Beau Henry tries; Beau Henry 2 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 0 at Pizzey Park.
Burleigh Bears: 1. Henare Wells 2. Steve Michaels 3. Jamie Anderson 4. Khan Ahwang 5. Zac Mackay 6. Matt Beddow 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Luke Page 9. Matt Keating 10. Mark Ioane 11. Jesse Malcolm 12. Kyle McConnell 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Nafe Seluini 15. Siuatonga Likiliki 16. Chris Kitching 17. Matt Bell
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Jamal Fogarty 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa 3. Luke Dumas 4. Blake Anderson 5. Tom Merritt 6. Sam Irwin 7. Beau Henry 8. Damian Sironen 9. Matt King (c) 10. Pele Peletelese 11. Cody Nelson 12. Cory Blair 13. Tom Kingston 14. Matt Srama 15. Sam Saville 16. Chris Piper 17. Reg Saunders