Wynnum Manly Seagulls took ‘round one’ in their back to back duel with East Tigers in a thrilling 18-14 win at Langlands Park yesterday.
The victory earned the Seagulls a second-placed finish and the right to host the Tigers at BMD Kougari Oval next week in the Intrust Super Cup qualifying final.
The match will be eagerly anticipated after this weekend’s encounter as the two title contenders put on a show.
Wynnum started the stronger going out to a 12-0 lead however Easts were able to swing momentum back leading 14-12 late in the match.
As the game and home final was on the line, a Daniel Ogden try in the dying minutes would seal the game for the visitors 18-14.
The opening encounters were fierce and both teams carried the football as if the month was already September. Wynnum were winning the early battles and critically making quick play the balls.
The visitors capitalised when they worked the ball left to Mitchell Frei who offloaded for Ogden sweeping on the wrap-around. The fullback was too quick for the cover defence and stood up his opposite with pace.
Wynnum were close to scoring a second at the 15 minute mark however Jordan Kahu could not retain the ball as he caught a chip kick in the air close to the line.
They would not be denied minutes later as Chris McLean scored close to the posts. The Tigers defended back to back sets on their line but struggled to contain Dylan Smith in the third when he offloaded at the line for McLean to score.
Despite the Tigers grinding their way back into the contest through the introduction of Liam McDonald and Melbourne Storm star Kenny Bromwich, the Seagulls held a 12-0 lead.
A perfect defensive effort in the first half for the Seagulls was let down when Richie Kennar broke through for the home side on the stroke of halftime. At the back end of the half the Tigers were starting to win the important battles in the ruck and the winger’s try was just reward.
The Seagulls led at the break 12-4 however the Tigers were gathering momentum heading into the final stanza.
Easts almost begun the second half in the best possible fashion when a weaving Cody Walker run found him in the Wynnum backfield, however the crucial final pass was forward.
After a penalty that put the home side into Wynnum territory, former Wynnum Manly premiership winner Jacob Fauid delivered a perfect cross kick for Kennar to athletically bat back in the air for Hymel Hunt to pick up and score.
Walker would stray his second conversion and the missed points would prove costly in a close game.
The Tigers though were rolling and in the ensuing set of six they drove the length of the field for Tom Butterfield to accelerate out of dummy half, fend a couple of Wynnum defenders and score to the left of the posts.
Fauid replaced Walker as kicker and did not make the same mistake, putting the home side in front 14-12 with 25 minutes remaining.
The Seagulls were just holding on as Easts sent wave after wave at the visitors but they were not able to put more points on the scoreboard.
The closing 20 minutes of the match were physical, frantic and desperate as both sides were determined to win the qualifying final preview.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, the defining moment fell to Ogden who sent the Seagulls supporters into raptures when he crossed for the winning try. He was magnificently set up by Kahu who beat three Tigers defenders with a classy in-and-away and offloaded in the tackle for the fullback to finish.
The fullback provided a wholehearted performance, playing the majority of the match with injured ribs and the look of elation on his face was clear for all to see as he crossed the line holding one finger in the air.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 18 (Daniel Ogden 2, Chris McLean tries; Matthew Seamark 3 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 14 (Hymel Hunt, Richie Kennar, Tommy Butterfield tries; Jacob Fauid goals) at Langlands Park.
Easts Tigers: 1. Eddie Tautali 2. Jarrod McInally 3. Shane Neumann 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Richie Kennar 6. Jacob Fauid 7. Cody Walker 8. Steven Thorpe (c) 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Mitchell Garbutt 11. Dane Hogan 12. Troy Giess 13. Jacob Ling 14. Liam McDonald 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Kenny Bromwich 17. Joel Romelo
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Daniel Ogden 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matt Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Ben Cronin 7. Matthew Seamark 8. Tanu Wulf 9. Jake Granville 10. Timothy Natusch (c) 11. Jon Grieve 12. Chris McLean 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Graham Clark 16. Stephen Coombe 17. Dylan Smith