It was a happy homecoming of sorts for a number of Tweed Heads Seagulls with three of their four returning players scoring in their comeback games to help record a 42-28 win over Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval yesterday.
Fullback Shaun Carney returned from a stint with Norths last season and his hat-trick was icing on the cake for the Gulls who fought back twice to reclaim the lead, before running away with it at the back end of the game.
Nat Barnes – the competition’s all-time leading try scorer – picked up where he left off and added two more tries to his burgeoning total.
Things didn’t start well for the visitors however, who seemed flat at the start of the game and more affected by the heat.
The Dolphins literally raced out to a 16-0 lead – with early tries to speedy outside backs Oliver Regan and Evander Cummins followed up by a show of strength from former Gull Reggie Saunders.
Tweed Heads seemed to turn the corner off the back of some strong individual efforts, with speed once again proving the key. Three quick tries of their own saw them trailing 16-14 at halftime; and they hit the lead for the first time with the second of Carney’s tries right after the break.
The lead changed hands twice more as the teams traded tries – before the Gulls were able to put the game to bed with impressive young half Kane Elgey and Titans-contract Davin Crampton looking comfortable in their new team colours.
For the young Dolphins – it was a case of inexperience and impatience bringing about their downfall as they twice let a match-winning lead fall out of their grasp.
However, coach Troy Lindsay will be buoyed by some good work from new recruits and club youngsters, with Charlie Faainga’s try boding well for the future with the 120kg prop proving impossible to stop close the line.
Next weekend, the Seagulls will be looking to continue their momentum when they hit the road and travel north to take on Mackay, while things also don’t get any easier for the Phins, who are the first team to take on the Hunters at Kokopo this season.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 42 (Shaun Carney 3, Nathanael Barnes 2, Kane Elgey, Leva Li, Ryan Simpkins tries; Jamal Fogarty 3, Blake Anderson 2 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 28 (Evander Cummins, Oliver Regan, Charlie Faingaa, Tristan Lumley, Reggie Saunders tries; Luke Capewell 4 goals) at Dolphin Oval
Redcliffe Dolphins v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Dolphin Oval on Sunday, March 8 - 2pm
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Evander Cummins 2. Oliver Regan 3. Nick Ritter 4. Tom Opacic 5. Marty Hatfield 6. Bobbie Goulding 7. Luke Capewell (c) 8. Charlie Faingaa 21. Shane Pumipi 10. Harley Aiono 11. Ajuma Adams 12. Tristan Lumley 13. Trent Richardson 14. Logan Harris 15. Martin Cordwell 16. Tom Gerharty 17. Reggie Saunders
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Shaun Carney 2. Nathanael Barnes 3. James Wood (c) 4. Davin Crampton 5. Blake Anderson 6. Jamal Fogarty 7. Kane Elgey 8. Damian Sironen 9. Sam Meskell 10. Mark Offerdahl 11. Sam Saville 12. Jai Ingram 13. Jake Leary 14. Ricardo Parata 15. Dane Clarke 16. Leva Li 17. Ryan Simpkins