The Wynnum Manly Seagulls made it back-to-back wins with their 40-16 victory over the Norths Devils on a sunny winter’s afternoon at Bishop Park yesterday.
Despite the absence of regular fullback Daniel Ogden, Wynnum Manly’s Patrick Templeman was influential at the back and combined effortlessly with halves Matt Seamark and Matt Smith.
The trio were influential in the early onslaught of points for the visitors and they pulled the strings in a comprehensive seven-try display.
Starting five-eighth from last season Ben Cronin also returned from a long-term injury in reserve grade, adding to the stable of quality ball players at coach Jon Buchanan’s disposal; putting the Seagulls firmly in the hunt for a title.
Sunday’s victory has the Seagulls tied with the Ipswich Jets on 26 points, however for and against puts the Bayside club in fourth place.
The shining light for the Devils was Krys Freeman who provided the impetus to the majority of the home side’s attacking movements as he roamed from hooker to the edge during the match.
The Seagulls were energised early as they jumped out to a 16-0 lead through tries to Brendon Gibb, Templeman and Seamark.
The match looked like it was heading towards a repeat of the dominant Seagulls result from earlier in the season before Devils’ centre Joel Bailey clawed a try back to make it 16-6 at the break.
However, immediately after halftime Seagulls’ winger Peter Gubb would latch onto a Seamark bomb that was allowed to bounce to extend his side’s lead to 22-6.
The Devils were proving to be a sterner test this time around and Michael Lucas proved as much when he broke the line from a scrum, out-sprinting the chase for a long-range try as his side closed in at 22-12.
Unfortunately the home side could not create further momentum as Wynnum Manly centre Matt Grieve stepped, swerved, and spun his way around four defenders for the score.
Grieve would then expertly bat back a kick in the air to an on-coming John Te Reo whose try ensured an insurmountable 34-12 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Six minutes from time, Freeman produced one of the most spectacular plays of the season.
Scooting out from dummy half, the Devils’ captain dropped a short grubber through the line, regathered and headed up field determined for points.
Looking right, he supplied a pinpoint kick into the corner for his centre Bailey to chase and collect for his second try on the day.
But Te Reo had the final say in the match when he busted his way over for his second and spiked the ball into the ground in celebration to put the full-stop on his side’s victory.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 40 (John Te Reo 2, Peter Gubb, Matthew Grieve, Patrick Templeton, Matthew Seamark, Brendon Gibb tries; Matthew Seamark 6 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 16 (Joel Bailey 2, Michael Lucas tries; Liam Tyson 2 goals) at Bishop Park.
Norths Devils: 1. Dylan Galloway 2. Michael Lucas 3. Joel Bailey 4. Ryan Millard 5. Rogan Dean 6. Dan Murphy 7. Liam Tyson 8. Matt Mizzi 9. Byron Creighton 11. Rhett Webster 12. Michael Molo 13. Krys Freeman (c) 15. Haile Rycroft 16. Brett Greinke 20. Dylan Smith 14. Kodi Nikorima
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Matthew Smith 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Greg Eden 6. Patrick Templeman 7. Matthew Seamark 8. Ben Shea 9. Alehana Mara 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. David Stagg 12. Jon Grieve 20. Mitchell Dodds 14. John Te Reo 15. Brendon Gibb 16. Aaron Rockley 17. Tanu Wulf