A Kalifa Faifai Loa hat-trick headlined a 32-24 win for the Tweed Heads Seagulls who earned themselves a spot in the top six with their victory over the Capras.

The Seagulls had to overcome a poor start against a committed CQ side who posted two quick tries in the opening 15 minutes of the match to begin new coach Lionel Harbin’s first game in charge on a positive note.

The first came from Gerard Tema running over the Gulls defence close to the line, while the second came through a good backline move with Dan Randall crossing for the first of his two tries.

However, that seemed to spark the visiting Gulls into action – who scored two quick tries of their own, the first to a leaping Kalifa Faifai Loa; to draw scores level 12-12 with 10 left in the half.

The final quarter minutes of the half proved hectic with Clinton Mooney running onto a Matt Minto kick with eighth and a half minutes to go, with Ian Webster’s successful conversion pushing them out to an 18-12 lead.

However, the Gulls were just as determined to squeeze as many points out of the half as they could, with Ricardo Parata crossing with only moments left until the break. The conversion missed, handing the Capras an 18-16 lead at halftime.

While the first half started with a strong burst from the Capras, the start of the second was just the opposite – with the Gulls posting the first try of the second half with Sam Meskell finishing off a 70m team effort. They then posted two more in quick succession – including Faifai Loa’s third – to surge to a 32-18 lead.

Always a tough prospect to beat at home, the Capras tried hard until the end, with a try on the buzzer narrowing the final margin to 32-24.

TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 32 (Kalifa Faifai Loa 3, James Wood, Ricardo Parata, Sam Meskell tries; Jamal Fogarty 4 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 24 (Dan Randall 2, Clinton Mooney, Gerard Tema tries; Ian Webster 4 goals) at Browne Park.

Final Teams

CQ Capras: 1. Javarn White 3. Dan Randall 4. Jacob Gagai 5. Ray Ebsworth 6. Ian Webster 7. Matt Minto 8. Gerard Tema 9. Mark Johnstone 10. Nathan Young 11. Guy Williams (c) 12. Dean McAdams 13. Gavin Hiscox 14. Josh Mitchell 19. Rajan Opetaia-Halls 24. Andrew Dale 17. Josh Johnston Clinton Mooney

Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Shaun Carney 2. Nathanael Barnes 3. James Wood (c) 4. Davin Crampton 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Ricardo Parata 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. William Bugden 9. Matt Srama 10. Oliver Percy 11. Jarrod Morfett 12. Dane Clarke 13. Sam Saville 14. Sam Meskell 15. Luke Dumas 16. Ethan Price 17. Hemi Mullen