Defending Coast-2-Coast Bycroft Cup champions the Tugun Seahawks are one game away from another grand final appearance thanks to a 10-6 win over the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park.
Despite the Bears having the best of possession and field position, the Seahawks took their limited opportunities in attack and tackled their way to victory.
“We turned over too much ball but luckily our defence kept us in the game,” Seahawks coach Selwyn Apanui said.
“The boys really turned up today. This is the fourth time we’ve played Burleigh this year and we’ve come away with three wins; twice by two points and now one by four.
“It’s always a close game with Burleigh, they always turn up. You just can’t take them lightly. Lucky our boys had a bit of kick in them and they kicked away.”
For the first twenty minutes of the game Burleigh were camped in Tugun’s end of the field.
With an early run of penalties and some Tugun handling errors the Bears had the best of the opening exchanges, but couldn’t get across the line and capitalise.
Tugun’s first opportunity came in the 26th minute when the Seahawks spread the ball to the right and Cameron Moran slipped past a couple of defenders to score in the corner.
The lead was extended to 10 shortly after the break when fullback Corey Morris threw a nice short ball for skipper Daniel Webb who charged over the line.
From there the Seahawks dug their heels in and defended valiantly.
Burleigh came hard in the last half hour with prop Jerry Nia the stand out. Nia’s charges in the middle kept Burleigh on the front foot and gave them a chance at coming back.
Ultimately the Bears couldn’t crack the Tugun defence though. It took a lovely chip and chase play for Kevin Nilan to open the scoring for Burleigh in 72nd minute, but it was too late.
Plenty of players had big games for the Seahawks. Corey Morris was safe at the back and a constant threat in attack, Robert Apanui and Daniel Webb led the way in the middle while winger Joel Sykes made several line breaks and came up with some big defensive plays.
“Corey Morris is only a little fella but always plays above his weight,” Apanui said.
“Robert again was really solid in defence and keeps our middle strong while Daniel Webb flogged out another 80 minute performance. He’s definitely a tower of strength for us.
“Joel Sykes is known for his try scoring ability but today he probably saved three or four tries for us. We’re not just counting on Joel to score tries; he has a big role in defence.”
Tugun advance to a grand final qualifier against Southport next Sunday while the Bears will be back home next Saturday in the elimination final.
Burleigh’s opposition will be the Bilambil Jets who eliminated the Tweed Seagulls with a 22-14 win on Sunday afternoon.
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