A LAST gasp try to Trent Richardson saw Tweed Heads snatch a 26-22 win over the Mackay Cutters at Piggabeen yesterday and with it, the right to host this weekend's elimination final.
The Gulls will meet the Ipswich Jets in the elimination semi-final with the winner to play either Wynnum Manly or Easts Tigers in the minor semi-final.
It was almost the Jets who were to host Tweed, with the Gulls trailing the Cutters in the final minute of the game.
However, they gave the Seagulls too many opportunities with dropped balls in the closing stages, which they took with Richardson's determined charge to the line.
The home side had their best start to a match in more than a month, going out to a 10-0 lead with Blake Anderson and Jahrome Hughes on the board early.
However, the Cutters then scored the next three tries in quick succession, with Chris Gesch, Zac Santo and a difficult to contain Curtis Rona all crossing.
Anderson however was able to hand the home side back an unlikely advantage with his second try just before the half time buzzer, with the Gulls heading to the sheds leading 14-12.
The Seagulls were forced to defend their line for much of the early stages of the second half, but got their opportunity to apply their own pressure soon after – earning two line dropouts that eventually turned into try number 94 for co-captain James Wood. The experienced centre now holds the club record for most tries for the Seagulls, overtaking Nat Barnes.
The Cutters nominee for the XXXX People’s Choice Award Karl Davies was the next to score, before a clever and unexpected kick from John Asiata rolled along the touchline for Nico Mataia to pounce and put Mackay into a short-lived 22-20 lead.
It was another close match between these two sides, and it could have been even closer, with regular goal kicker and skipper Liam Taylor forced from the field with an injury, resulting in only the one successful conversion for the Cutters.
The win may have come at a cost for the Gulls however, with the side waiting to see this week’s judiciary charge sheet. A tackle involving Matt King, Sam Saville and Cory Blair was placed on report, while Luke Dumas was also put on report for a separate incident.
Injuries are also a concern, with fullback Hughes forced from the field early, while Michael Burgess and King - who threw the last pass for Richardson to score - are also under injury clouds.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 26 (Blake Anderson 2, Jahrome Hughes, James Wood, Trent Richardson tries; Jamal Fogarty 3 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Zac Santo, Nico Mataia, Curtis Rona, Chris Gesch, Karl Davies tries; Brent Warr goal) at Piggabeen Sports
Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Ricardo Parata 3. Luke Dumas 4. James Wood (c) 5. Blake Anderson 6. Jamal Fogarty 7. Michael Burgess 8. Oliver Percy 9. Matt King (c) 10. Damian Sironen 11. Ayden Lee 12. Cory Blair 13. Sam Saville 14. Sam Irwin 15. Chris Piper 16. Trent Richardson 17. Pele Peletelese
1. Zac Santo 2. Liam Taylor (c) 3. Nico Mataia 4. Curtis Rona 20. Pulou Vaituutuu 6. Sam Hoare 7. Brentt Warr 8. John Asiata 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Dan Beasley 11. Kelvin Nielsen 12. Chris Gesch 13. Mitch Day 15. Aleki Falepaini 16. Karl Davies 17. Dean Webster 19. James Uhatafe