Photo: Steven Gibson Photography
David Stagg showed his body still had enough in the tank to deliver an inspiring performance in Wynnum Manly’s 30-22 defeat of the Redcliffe Dolphins at BMD Kougari Oval yesterday.
The retiring Brisbane Bronco and Wynnum Manly Seagull punched out 80 of the best in the unforgiving middle of the park that had his coach Jon Buchanan in awe.
“(David Stagg) was outstanding today, he was unbelievable. His work rate and experience out there was huge, he is doing all the little stuff that nobody would notice and it probably won us the footy game today.”
“Playing the full 80 minutes in the middle of the park is almost unheard of these days.”
The win halted the Gulls’ consecutive run of losses although Buchanan has not been overly concerned with his side’s form of late.
“I don’t think we have been far off the pace the past couple of weeks. We were beaten in the final minutes against a strong Ipswich side and two length of the field momentum changing tries last week hurt us.”
“Today was tough and it was great to get the win against the form side of the comp (in the Redcliffe Dolphins).”
Sunday’s victory means the Herald Cup is retained in Wynnum Manly for the 2015 season.
The Gulls flew out to a red hot start on the back of a magical return for Ben Cronin.
The half had not played Intrust Super Cup football for close to 12 months after he cruelly suffered an ACL tear just prior to the 2014 finals series and he had a hand in the first three tries for the home side.
First he rolled in a perfectly weighted grubber for Mitchell Buckett to collect and then he delivered the money ball for Mitchell Frei to storm over.
Cronin then fed early ball to the dangerous left edge and Greg Eden roped in a lucky bounce from a Buckett kick to have the Gulls soaring at 18-0 in as many minutes.
However the Dolphins have been one of the in-form teams in the competition recently and despite leaking the early points they worked their way back into contention.
Redcliffe really started to muscle up with their ball running and were relentless in their execution as they completed 12/13 sets in the first half.
Their dominance in the ruck eventually translated into points as Brisbane Bronco Aaron Whitchurch crossed twice to force an 18-12 score line at the break.
A horror start to the second half for the visitors saw them give up a try to Gulls’ utility John Te Reo within the first couple of minutes which derailed the momentum they had been building.
Troy Lindsay’s side continued to persevere and they were rewarded when young Bronco centre Tom Opacic powered his way over to close in on the Gulls.
Intense football between the two Bayside forward packs has been a hallmark of the Herald Cup battles over the years and this encounter lived up to expectations with plenty of fiery collisions.
Dolphin hooker Darcy Etrich silenced the packed out Chook Pen when he slipped between the markers and busted his way over to push his side within two points of the home side.
The match sat on a knife edge and with one eye on the clock desperation started to creep more and more into Redcliffe’s play as time wound down.
Their errors hurt them in the end as they gave up possession deep in their own half, giving fullback Patrick Templeman the opportunity to dart short side out of dummy half and dive over in the corner to snap the Gulls’ two match losing streak.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 30 (Patrick Templeman, Mitchell Buckett, Greg Eden, Mitchell Frei, John Te Reo tries; Patrick Templeman 5 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 22 (Aaron Whitchurch 2, Tom Opacic, Darcy Etrich tries; Luke Capewell 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Patrick Templeman 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Greg Eden 6. Matt Smith 7. BEN CRONIN (for Mathew Seamark) 8. Ben Shea 9. Alehana Mara 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. David Stagg 12. Jon Grieve 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Brendon Gibb 16. Stephen Coombe 17. Tanu Wulf
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Marlon Doak 2. Josh Beehag 3. Tom Opacic 4. Aaron Whitchurch 5. Curtis Johnston 6. John Brady 7. Luke Capewell (c) 8. Charlie Faingaa 9. Darcy Etrich 10. Jon Green 11. Nick Ritter 17. TAYLOR BROWN (for 12. Anthony Cherrington) 13. Trent Richardson 14. SHANE PUMIPI (for Hayden Hansen) 15. Tyson Cleal 16. Harley Aiono 19. Josh Rudolph