With both teams having already assured a finals berth; this game was about psychological advantage and securing the all-important home ground support for next weekend’s elimination final between the same two sides.
After 80 minutes of pulsating football, Wynnum Manly came away with the win and will host the Tigers next Sunday at BMD Kougari Oval.
They opened the scoring in the second minute when rake Alehana Mara took the ball down the short side for a set play that saw Brendon Gibb put his winger Peter Gubb into space on the right to score a try.
The Tigers responded in the 10th minute when Tom Butterfield also went the short side, this time to the left, for Shaun Nona to thread a pin point kick into the in goal which Michael Kai grounded superbly just short of the dead ball line in front of the score board. With both kickers missing their attempts at goal the score was all locked up at 4-4.
For the Tigers Francis Tualau, Troy Giess and Dayne Weston were prominent in the early exchanges while for the Seagulls, Gibb and hard running skipper Tim Natusch lead from the front.
However, in what would be the pattern for much of the day, both teams were guilty of building pressure on the opposition before dropped ball, errant passes and poor last tackle options let the pressure release without any reward. If this game was a dress rehearsal for next weekend; neither team will be happy with the performance.
The teams exchanged tries once again in the first half, with Matt Smith running to the line and turning the ball to his left for lock forward Mitchell Frei who ran a nice inside out line to score for the Gulls. The other Matt in the Wynnum halves, Seamark, slotted the conversion and they were out to a 10-4 lead.
However, the Tigers struck back through centre Shane Neumann before halftime to make it a two-point ballgame at the break. That try came after Easts got the ball back in their own half following a one-on-one strip effected by Matt Zgrajewski.
Throughout the match, points were proving hard to come by, but the Tigers managed to close the gap to 10-10 mid-way through the second half with a penalty goal from Nona. However, they were to be their last points of the game.
From there, they Seagulls were able to silence the pro-Tigers crowd with a try to Jeriah Goodrich folowing a Mitchell Buckett break and kick and field goal to Seamark late in the game to add the icing for the visitors.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 17 (Jeriah Goodrich, Mitchell Frei, Jeriah Goodrich tries; Mathew Seamark 2 goals; Mathew Seamark field goal) def EASTS TIGERS 10 (Michael Kai, Shane Neumann tries; Shaun Nona goal) at Tapout Energy Stadium, Langlands Park.
Easts Tigers: 1. Eddie Tautali 2. Michael Kai 3. Shane Neumann 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Richard Kennar 6. Shaun Nona 19. Brentt Warr 8. Liam McDonald 9. Tommy Butterfield (c) 10. Francis Tualau 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Mathew Pitman 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Dayne Weston 17. Billy Walters
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Patrick Templeman 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Jeriah Goodrich 6. Matthew Smith 7. Mathew Seamark 8. Josh Hoffman 9. Alehana Mara 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. David Stagg 12. Brendon Gibb 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Jon Grieve 16. Stephen Coombe 17. Tanu Wulf