The Easts Tigers and Tweed Head Seagulls opened their 2016 Intrust Super Cup campaigns on Sunday with what was a typical early season encounter at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
Neither coach will be particularly happy with their teams’ performance with dropped ball and errors prominent, however Seagulls coach Aaron Zimmerle will take some solace with his team emerging 28-24 victors and banking two valuable early season points.
The home side opened the scoring in the seventh minute with James Woods crashing over out wide for his 100th Intrust Super Cup try. Fellow Cup veteran Nathanael Barnes converted to give the Seagulls a 6-0 lead.
The Tigers then went on a very promising scoring spree, with Ash Little, Jake Foster and Brentt Warr all scoring. Billy Walters converted all three tries to give the Tigers an 18-10 lead. Hooker Walters was particularly impressive for the Tigers, sparking a number of attacking raids with his good vision and crisp passing and throwing the pass to put Ash Little under the posts for his try.
Half Warr was also impressive, creating Jake Foster’s try with a lovely delayed pass that put Francis Taulau into a gap. Foster then trailed up on the inside to take the pass from Taulau and go in under the posts. Warr also scored himself, jinking from left to right and mesmerising the defence to dot down for the Tigers third try.
With four minutes to go in the half Tweed were camped in the Tigers 20m zone and were peppering the Tigers right edge in defence. Eventually they got their reward when Blake Anderson went over making the halftime score 18-10.
Returning Gull Shannon Walker needed only 55 seconds in the second half to remind everybody of what a talent he is and how valuable an addition he will be to the Tweed Head roster this season.
Lurking in field he took what should have been an innocuous pass from Sam Irwin however Walker made the pass look magical as he took it and scorched 50m to score untouched under the black dot.
Five minutes later, Shaun Carney was in for the Seagulls as big Matt Robinson took the ball to the line, held off the defence and slipped the off load. In a blistering five-minute spell Tweed Heads had taken a 22-18 lead.
The warm weather and some rusty combinations contributed to a long flat period in the second stanza where the game drifted along, before it was sparked into life by some individual brilliance from Leva Li.
Off the back of a Woods burst down the sideline, Li took the pass and beat six Tigers defenders in a 60m dash to score the try that would ultimately seal the win for the Seagulls.
Along with the individual brilliance of Li and Walker, Irwin and Woods were two of the Seagulls better players on the day; while for the Tigers Walters, Warr, Matt Pitman and Foster never stopped trying.
Both teams will be better for the hit out and they will need to be for Round 2 as they both face Round 1 winners.
The Tigers head home to Suzuki Stadium to take on the Sunshine Coast Falcons, led by former mentor Craig Ingebrigtsen, while Tweed travel to Pizzey Park to take on the highly impressive Burleigh Bears.
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TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 28 (Blake Anderson, James Wood, Shannon Walker, Shaun Carney, Leva Li tries; Nathanael Barnes 4 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 24 (Brent Warr, Jake Foster, Ashley Little, Shane Neumann tries; Billy Walters 4 goals) at Piggabeen Sports.
Read all the Round 1 match reports: