It was billed as the battle of the Bayside as Wynnum Juniors hosted Redlands in a three v four grudge match that had plenty of feeling.
Redlands produced an epic come from behind win that eventually saw them move into third spot with a never say die 16-12 win. In driving rain and howling wind, both teams were out to take the vital two points on offer to cement their place in the finals.
With semi-finals right around the corner, both sides came into this game with a point to prove that they can match it with the front-runners Logan Brothers and Bulimba and sit clear third on the ladder.
Wynnum were first to open the scoring in the 19th minute after some clever lead up work from their hooker out of dummy half who sent the second rower over beside the posts. Dean Layfield slotted the easy conversion to see Wynnum take an early lead 6-0. Redlands hit back perfectly though, when Wynnum were penalised for offside 10m out to give Redlands a fresh set of six tackles which they made good use of.
Busy Redlands hooker Mitch Askew caught the Seagulls napping and from dummy half burrowed his way over to score. With the conversion waved away in the howling wind, Wynnum still had their noses in front 6-4. It was end to end football throughout this first half and the heavy conditions made it difficult for the speedsters to show their talents in front of the impressive crowd. Instead it was up to the big boppers from both sides who were trudging up the middle like men possessed.
With one minute left on the clock, Wynnum nearly scored again when a beautiful backline movement saw the ball sweep out to the winger who raced away but was bundled into touch right on the halftime hooter. The score remained 6-4 at the break.
The second half got off to a flyer as both teams knew that this two points would see them safely sit within the top three and the defence from both teams was brilliant. The crowd was getting more parochial as the game went on and the players were thriving on it. It was Wynnum’s Layfield who was making some good metres with the kicking duties and this was laying the platform for Wynnum’s huge forward pack.
Wynnum’s next try came from a devastating run by their prop forward Orisi Kornikow who took four players with him over the line and scored a great individual try with his brute strength. Layfield converted from right in front and Wynnum had skipped to a 12-4 lead. To their credit, Redlands never threw in the towel or put up the white flag. Instead they rallied together and were starting to create headaches for the Wynnum side both in attack and defence.
As Redlands started to regather momentum, it took a barnstorming run by prop Takai Hola to crash his way over beside the pots to see the Parakeets edging closer. Jones converted the easy goal and Redlands were back in it trailing 12-10.
In a thrilling and pulsating last two minutes on the clock and the bumper crowd still making their presence felt, Redlands who trailed all game, managed to do the unthinkable and a great little pocket play saw Redlands lock Mitch Reading swerve through some tired Wynnum defence and score under the posts to seal victory for the visitors.
Nathan Tanner delivered the knockout blow with the easy conversion and in a gutsy no holds barred dog fight, saw Redlands take the spoils 16-12 in a highly entertaining game.