A determined Yeppoon Seagulls proved too strong for Norths Chargers 30-12 in the Rockhampton Rugby League A-Grade competition, at Browne Park on Saturday night.
Coming into the game minus a bevy of stars - headlined by halves Jonathan Tavinor and Blake Wallace - the Gulls managed to get on the board first after they made the most of a string of contentious penalties to score through centre Brett Reddiex.
After their upset loss to the Chargers on home turf at Webb Oval earlier this season the Seagulls were focused on making amends and they did so following a physical start in this Round 8 clash.
Seagulls hooker Ben Hauff carried on his recent run of good form - emulating feats that earned the gutsy rake a spot in the Central Crows representative team – with a workhorse-like effort in defence.
“That opening 20 minutes was pretty intense,” he said
“We dropped a bit of ball early in the first half to give them a few chances, so it was good to be up by 10 at halftime considering that and how physical it was.”
The controversy continued when Norths’ cult hero Alan Rothery was sent off by the officials following a discussion with the referee about a penalty, reducing his team to 12 men for the remainder of the match.
It didn’t get any easier for the Chargers after the break, as the Seagulls began to tighten the screws and wear down their undermanned opponents - extending their lead with a further three tries in the final 20 minutes.
“(The extra man) definitely worked well for us late in the game. We focused hard on completing our sets to keep turning their big guys around.”
Seagulls fullback Shannon Rupapere was electric at the back for his team, displaying some evasive running with his kick returns and scrum plays to keep the Chargers on their toes. Fill-in halfback Angus Dorante relished his A-Grade promotion, following some outstanding performances in the U20’s, to control the game with his precision kicking.
The win cements top spot for the Seagulls as they move two points clear of the Chargers, followed by Biloela who had the bye and Brothers who continued their resurgence to condemn Fitzroy/Gracemere to their eighth straight defeat this season.
The defending premiers put the Sharks to the sword 68-8 on their way to their second win in as many games, for the first time since the 2013 finals.
The game started with plenty of stinging defence before frustrations finally reached boiling point midway through the first half, resulting in a melee.
Back-rower Peter Spanner scored a hat-trick for the Brethren, while last rounds hat-trick-hero Justin Asse nabbed a double as the visitors continued their strong form from last week to comprehensively overcome the competition’s cellar dwellers.