The Mackay Cutters continue their hunt for their first win after going down fighting against the Tweed Heads Seagulls 37-24 at Piggabeen today.
Going into this match – the Seagulls were just as desperate to chalk up a victory having been on the wrong side of the ledger in all but one of their games so far this season.
The team had said they were working on improving their starts and that work paid off, with two quick tries setting them on their path.
The first came after forward Cory Blair (and today’s XXXX man of the match winner) caught a short ball close to the line before crashing over, while the next came from the good vision shown by hooker Sam Meskell who went the short-side with his kick and found David Sheridan.
The visitors had not had much chance with the ball, but with their first opportunity they were almost able to capitalise, with centre Johnny Faletagoa’i going left – only to drop the ball over the line to the relief of the Seagulls.
However, they did not have to wait long to score their first points, with Tweed Heads handing the opportunity straight back to them with a forward pass. This time, Braden Uele made no mistake after catching a Josh Chudleigh pass in front to crash over under the posts.
The following kick-off was fantastic from Sam Irwin, and despite their best efforts, three Cutters couldn’t handle it and he earned his side a drop out.
While their next visit to the opposition line saw Karl Lawton denied a try by the video referee – the next try from the Seagulls was worth the wait for the home fans, with a break from Blake Anderson ably followed up by Sheridan who then kicked the ball back into the inside of the field where Shannon Walker was waiting to scoop it up run over.
Out to an 18-6 lead, the Gulls were looking comfortable until the Cutters upped the pressure, scoring out wide via a swan-diving Jordan Pereira who made the good lead up work from John Asiata count.
However, they released any tension that may have been building within the Seagulls before halftime when they were unable to latch onto Walker who eluded defenders and ran from inside his own on-goal halfway down the field before popping a pass to Leva Li to go the rest of the field to score an impressive-looking try and take a 24-12 lead into the break.
Tweed Heads were first on the board again when play resumed with Dane Clarke over under the posts. This was despite the Cutters having all the running in the opening minutes of the second stage, with the Gulls doing well to withstand the pressure.
The home side went over one more time – this time thanks to Shaun Carney whose speed got him through the Cutters defence line and over to score.
With his team trailing 34-12; Asiata then reinjected himself back into the game in a big way, scoring two tries within three minutes to bring his side within 10; and with just under 20 minutes to go in the match – there would have been some nervous faces on the home bench.
However, the Seagulls were able to hold out any further raids as the rain started to tumble down at Piggabeen. Michael Burgess slotted a penalty conversion and a last-minute field goal to add to the Gulls point-scoring tally for the day.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 37 (Cory Blair, David Sheridan, Shannon Walker, Leva Li, Dane Clarke, Shaun Carney tries; Michael Burgess 6 goals; Michael Burgess field goal) def MACKAY CUTTERS 24 (John Asiata 2, Braden Uele, Jordan Pereira tries; Liam Taylor 4 goals) at Piggabeen Sports.