Photo: Glenn Hardwick
Bycroft Cup minor premiers Southport have reclaimed the Pat Shepherdson Memorial Shield with a 30-16 win over the Tugun Seahawks.
Shepherdson, who passed away in 2011, was a beloved local league figure who played at both clubs. This is the fourth time the Shield has been contested.
“Pat was such a tremendous bloke to both footy teams and both communities and was really highly regarded. To win that Shield really means something to this group,” Southport assistant coach Rob Sealey said.
“It was a very tough game. I thought we started the game really well and then Tugun came back hard. The character the boys showed to hold them off and get the win was the most pleasing part and will hold us in good stead heading into the finals.”
The Tigers started the game extremely well by racing to an 18-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes.
Halfback Drumayne Dayberg-Muir was the architect as he scored the first and set up the second while it was Kimi Paki-Paki Hemopo who scored their third.
Dayberg-Muir did the early damage, but Tugun’s chief playmaker Keanu TeKiri turned the tide.
A lovely short ball put Robert Apanui in for Tugun’s first before TeKiri combined with Dan Backo to cut the margin to eight.
When the Seahawks scored again just after halftime the momentum was firmly with the visitors, but the Tigers found a way to get their rhythm back and slowly regained the ascendancy.
Joseph Utiera scored the crucial try in the 65th minute to give the Tigers some breathing space while a try on the buzzer to Jesse Richardson was the exclamation point.
The Bycroft Cup now moves into the semi-finals with Burleigh hosting Tugun Saturday and Tweed hosting Bilambil on Sunday.
As minor premiers Southport get the week off to recover and prepare for the major semi-final in two weeks.
“It’s time to enjoy the footy now,” Sealey said of the upcoming finals series.
“There are a few blokes carrying a couple of niggling injuries so the weekend off will do us a world of good and I expect to see the usual suspects featuring prominently as we approach the grand final.”
In other round 17 Bycroft Cup results Bilambil beat Cudgen 42-8, Burleigh defeated Tweed 25-14 and Currumbin knocked off Runaway Bay 24-22.
SOUTHPORT TIGERS 30 (T. Whakatihi, J. Richardson, D. Dayberg-Muir, K. PakiPaki-Hemopo, J. Utiera tries T. Whakatihi 5 goals) def TUGUN SEAHAWKS 16 (D, Backo, R. Apanui, R. Clarke tries V. Buatava 2 goals)