Intrust Super Cup Elimination Final Highlights - Wynnum Manly Seagulls V Easts Tigers at BMD Kougari Oval, Manly West. 3.00pm Sunday September 6, 2015.
Match Report by Matt Crowhurst
There can be fewer tougher tests in the Intrust Super Cup than facing the Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Kougari Oval on a Sunday afternoon, with a packed crowd and the Chook Pen in full voice. This was the challenge the Tigers faced and passed yesterday as they came away with a hard fought 32-24 win.
Led by Liam McDonald who was celebrating his 150th Intrust Super Cup game, club captain Matt Zgrajewski and Felise Kaufusi; the Tigers forwards dominated the highly-rated Wynnum pack (which was missing skipper Tim Natusch due to suspension and workhorse forward David Stagg) and ensured that with the defence rolling backwards, the Tigers creative triumvirate of Shaun Nona, Brentt Warr and Tom Butterfield would have time and space to weave their magic.
And weave magic they certainly did, between the three of them they either scored or threw the last pass for all of the Tigers six tries.
One player who was much more heavily involved this week was Warr who is quickly becoming known as a mesmerising runner of the ball. This was exactly how he scored his try when off a scrum win in their own half, Mahe Fonua surged 30m upfield, McDonald then made 15m before Warr took the ball at first receiver and jinked 25m through the Wynnum defence to score.
Wynnum contributed one try to the half with Matthew Smith dotting down after a long run from Patrick Templeman. Tigers fullback Donald Malone put his body on the line and sent Templeman flying into touch, but not before he threw the ball back in for Mitch Buckett to toe it in-goal for Smith to pounce.
The Tigers were not done with the first half though, with Shaun Nona finding a hard-running Kaufusi on the left and putting him into a gap to score beside the posts. Nona converted two of the Tigers first half tries and the teams went to the sheds with the scores at 26-6.
The second half was only five minutes old when the Tigers resumed normal service, with Nona this time finding Jake Foster looking for work on the left edge who was rewarded with a try.
Soon after, Wynnum were penalised and Nona slotted the goal to take the Tigers out to a 32-6 lead.
Tiger’s fans could have been forgiven for celebrating at this point, however it is unlikely many were; as the Seagulls are well known for tenacious comebacks from exactly this sort of position.
In an exhilarating 10 minute period, they scored three converted tries to take the score from 32-6 to 32-24 and ensure that none of the packed crowd was leaving early.
The first was a near length-of-the-field effort between Templeman and his winger Peter Gubb before Matthew Grieve trailing on the inside took the pass to score under the posts.
There was an element of luck in their next try when an Easts dropped ball sat up nicely in goal for big Mitch Frei who only had to dive on it to claim the points.
Wynnum’s last try was another long-range effort, started by an offload from John Te Reo who was one of their best all day. Te Reo found Greg Eden unmarked on the left and he made 30m before passing in-field to Smith, following up, as all good halves do, to take the return pass and score under the posts.
However, the Tigers defence then held strong in the closing stages of the match as Wynnum Manly threw everything they had at the their opposition. Cheered on by an incredibly vocal crowd Smith, Seamark and Te Reo tried every trick in the book, but in the end; they were unable to break their finals duck against Easts.
EASTS TIGERS 32 (Richard Kennar, Mahe Fonua, Brentt Warr, Tommy Butterfield, Felise Kaufusi, Jake Foster tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 24 (Matthew Smith 2, Matthew Grieve, Mitchell Frei tries; Mathew Seamark 4 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Patrick Templeman 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Greg Eden 6. Matthew Smith 7. Mathew Seamark 8. Ben Shea 9. Alehana Mara 10. Josh Hoffman 11. Aaron Rockley 12. Brendon Gibb 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Jon Grieve 16. Stephen Coombe 17. Tanu Wulf
Easts Tigers: 1. Donald Malone 5. Richard Kennar 3. Shane Neumann 4. Mahe Fonua 2. Michael Kai 6. Shaun Nona 19. Brentt Warr 8. Liam McDonald 9. Tommy Butterfield (c) 10. Felise Kaufusi 11. Dayne Weston 12. Jake Foster 14. Mathew Pitman 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Francis Tualau 17. Billy Walters 13. Foisa Peni