The Wynnum Manly Seagulls dug deep from 22-12 down midway through the second half to mount an incredible comeback and defeat the Ipswich Jets 32-24 at BMD Kougari Oval yesterday.
The Intrust Super Cup preliminary final was a return match from last year’s elimination final where the Jets sent the Seagulls packing out of the competition.
For the majority of the match it seemed as if 2013 would repeat itself, however a memorable captain’s knock from XXXX man of the match Tim Natusch and a late hat-trick from Mitchell Buckett kept the Seagulls’ season alive.
Natusch was enormous when the game was on a knife edge with inspirational carries coming out of yardage and a high defensive work rate.
Unfortunately for the Seagulls, key playmaker Ben Cronin suffered a major knee injury and looks like he will be unavailable for the remainder of the Intrust Super Cup finals series.
Ipswich exited the competition as the undisputed ‘entertainers’ of the competition. Despite the loss the Jets stayed true to their style and once again had spectators on a thrilling ride with their high volume passing game and free forming structures.
Carlin Anderson and Dane Phillips played significant roles in the Jets’ efforts with their elusive running and width of passing respectively troubling the Seagulls all afternoon.
The victory also marked the final home game for favourite son Jake Granville as the rake is set to re-join former coach Paul Green at the North Queensland Cowboys next year.
Wynnum were the first to score when Peter Gubb crossed in the right corner. John Te Reo returned to the starting line up on the right edge and expertly threaded the ball through to his winger.
The Jets edged in front 6-4 after a second man play back into the ruck by Dane Phillips found winger Carlin Anderson who scored beside the uprights.
Anderson was involved again in the next try to push the score to 10-4. The winger found himself on his opposite edge and got an offload away in traffic for Nemani Valekapa to score.
The right edge was potent again for the home side when Gubb scored his second off a quick heads up play by Daniel Ogden finding the winger alone again on the right flank.
Nerves would have entered into the Seagulls minds in the sheds at halftime when they found themselves behind 16-8.
Marmin Barba finished a spectacular movement by the Jets which saw Phillips break into the Seagulls backfield and offload to Anderson who looped a long ball out to the winger to dot down in the corner.
Moments after the Cronin injury, half Matt Seamark stepped up and delivered a perfect cross kick to the left for Benaiah Bowie to gather and flick back inside for Buckett’s first try.
With 20 minutes remaining the Jets found themselves in pole position to win the game as they extended their lead to 22-12.
After a set which resembled a game of Touch Rugby League instead of real football, Phillips put a kick through under heavy pressure and hooker Matt Parcell backed up to catch a bouncing ball and run 30m to cross under the posts.
Buckett would cross for his second try to draw the score close at 22-16 in identical fashion to the first as a Seamark cross kick was batted back by Bowie for the centre.
Minutes later he would seal his hat trick when he barged over off a scrum close to the line. Seamark would convert from the sideline to lock the score up at 22 all and momentum had fully swung the home side’s way.
Seamark attempted a field goal with seven minutes remaining however it was metres short.
The half would attempt again in the next set however the Jets were up to the task for the charge down, instead he tipped inside to Natusch who threw a cut out ball for Buckett to link with Benaiah Bowie.
The winger made no mistake with the finish and the home side were in front for good 28-22.
Bowie would score again in the last of a final frantic few minutes. Granville converted from the sideline to leave BMD Kougari Oval in style.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 34 (Mitchell Buckett 3, Peter Gubb 2, Benaiah Bowie 2 tries; Matthew Seamark 2, Jake Granville goals) def IPSWICH JETS 22 (Marmin Barba, Nemani Valekapa, Carlin Anderson, Matt Parcell tries; Marmin Barba 2, Wes Conlon goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Daniel Ogden 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matt Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Benaiah Bowie 6. Ben Cronin 7. Matthew Seamark 8. Tanu Wulf 9. Jake Granville 10. Timothy Natusch (c) 11. Jon Grieve 12. Graham Clark 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Chris McLean 16. Ben Shea 17. Dylan Smith
Ipswich Jets: 18. Marmin Barba 2. Kurt Capewell 3. Nemani Valekapa 4. Brendon Marshall 5. Carlin Anderson 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 8. Kurtis Lingwoodock 9. Troy O`Sullivan 10. Rod Griffin 11. Liam Capewell 12. Sam Martin 13. Keiron Lander (c) 14. Billy McConnachie 19. Wes Conlon 21. Rob Worsley 22. Matt Parcell