SUNSHINE Coast players have vowed to “step up” in the absence of inspirational skipper Tom Murphy who sustained a serious shoulder injury during the side’s resolute triumph against Tweed Heads yesterday.
The Falcons claimed back-to-back victories for the first time in more than two years with a tense 28-24 victory over the Seagulls at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
Murphy left the field in the second half and is set to be sidelined for an extended period.
Coach Glen Dreger said his team-mates have already rallied.
“After the game, they said ‘look, we're just going to have to step up a bit more now’.
“They're already thinking about next week and getting on with the job and that's what we need to do.”
In fact, the Falcons rallied as soon as their skipper was injured yesterday.
They then staved off persistent raids from the Seagulls.
“The boys dug together in the second half and said ‘let's do it for Murphy’ and I thought that was a really good sign from our players” Dreger said.
“They really toughed it out. Our online defence was just outstanding so I'm really proud of them.
“It meant a lot to them to win that game for him"”
The Falcons trailed 18-16 at the break before skipping away to a 28-16 lead.
The Seagulls crossed to draw within four points with six minutes left.
Yesterday’s triumph was also their first in 23 away games.
The wooden spoon side for the past two years, the Falcons have in recent weeks looked a much more competitive outfit.
This year, the club has forged a relationship with NRL club Melbourne Storm.
The affiliation allows fringe Storm players to lace up for the Falcons each week.
Some of those players were among the standouts yesterday, including prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona and centre Hymel Hunt.
Among the Coast-based players to impress were prop Johnny Vuetibau and Jay Lobwein.
Officials said it would take a few games for the players to gel and that seems to have been the case.
But Dreger yesterday said Coast supporters should not expect a premiership just yet.
“There's a lot of things we need to do a lot better, but we're heading in the right direction,” he said.
The Falcons will clash with fifth-placed Wynnum Manly next weekend.
“That will be a good challenge because they're definitely being talked about as premiership contenders,” Dreger said.
“To have two wins and to be playing them is pretty exciting.”
Sunshine Coast Daily: Falcons win two in a row
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 28 (Callum Klein, Hymel Hunt, Suli Vunivalu, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Kenny Bromwich tries; Brett Doherty 4 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 24 (Shaun Carney, Matt Parata, Nathanael Barnes, Ricardo Parata tries; Jamal Fogarty 2, Blake Anderson 2 goals) at Piggabeen Sports
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Shaun Carney 2. Matt Parata 3. James Wood (c) 4. Nathanael Barnes 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Ricardo Parata 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Damian Sironen 9. Matt Srama 10. Oliver Percy 11. Matt Robinson 12. Dane Clarke 13. Blake Anderson 14. Jai Ingram 15. Sam Saville 16. Mark Offerdahl 17. Jake Leary
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Travis Robinson 2. Callum Klein 3. Rueben Baillie 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Suli Vunivalu 6. Ben Hampton 7. Brett Doherty 8. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 9. Billy Brittain 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Jake Samoa 13. Tom Murphy (c) 14. Jay Lobwein 15. Jye Ballinger 16. Jon Platt 17. Mitch Ebdon 18. Johnny Vuetibau