The Ted Beaumont trophy always promises top-class rugby league and the Open 3 Southside match between Eden’s Landing and Wynnum Manly Juniors delivered again at Suzuki Stadium.
This was a match where perhaps a draw could have been a fitting result but there had to be a winner and for the Seagulls they deserved to lift the trophy and remain two points clear on the ladder running out deserved winners 28-20.
The Seagulls Eliaz Masters and second-rower Jimmy Woo were unstoppable for the Baysiders. Not short of creativity, the Seagulls pairing are definitely in line for higher honours and quite frankly you couldn’t put a pin between them for taking out man of the match.
But in a see-sawing match that had everybody on their edge of their seats, the first try belonged to Eden’s Landing. Bustling second-rower Todd Graham used his size and strength to crash over for the Dragons as he exploited a gap in the Seagulls defensive line to see the Red and Whites up 4-0.
Seagulls five-eighth Masters, who proved to be near unstoppable, forced his way through some flimsy Dragons defence and found winger Tayne Sheppard in support who raced away for a 4-4 scoreline after 13 minutes.
The Dragons then took the lead back through centre Ypes Williams, as the Dragons took advantage of a repeat set of six that eventually saw the speedy three-quarter touch down for an 8-4 lead.
The introduction of former Bulimba Bulldog Jai Smith proved to be the turning point for the Seagulls. His vast experience was welcomed by the young Seagulls team and it was his smart football brain that saw the nuggetty halfback jink and weave his way through the Dragons defence to see the Seagulls regain the lead at 10-8 after he converted his own try.
Then came the important try to Dragons second-rower Graham right on the stroke of halftime courtesy of some incisive play by halfback Rheese Ficarra. Ficarra’s beautiful pass found Graham who battered his way through four defenders to crash in beside the posts. With Ryan Ficarra making no mistake with the easy conversion the Dragons went into the break with a slight psychological advantage leading 14-10.
Wynnum did, however, regroup for the second stanza of play and Seagulls replacement David Miller came into his own and made short work of the Dragons defensive lapse to score a great solo try to send the Seagulls ahead once again at 16-14.
You could forgive both sets of supporters for having heart palpitations in this roller-coasting encounter, as the lead would change yet again, this time through replacement Eden’s Landing player Kieran Nukunuku as he split the Seagulls defence in two and weaved his way in for a spirited try to see the Dragons back in the lead at 20-16.
It took somewhat of a heroic effort by Seagulls halfback Dylan Low to swing the lead once again back for his side, as he sidestepped four players to score a fantastic try after rebounding off the uprights to plant the ball down. With the ever reliable Jai Smith adding the extras, the Seagulls were holding a slim lead at 22-20.
Eden’s Landing’s defence was superb in this second half. Lock Riki Ratima, captain Tane Cox and hooker Bryson Fuller were notable standouts.
For the Seagulls you could not go past Eliaz Masters, Jimmy Woo and Jai Smith for sheer heart.
Eden’s Landing almost swung the momentum back in their favour when flying fullback Nick Yule nearly scored, but a desperate try-saving tackle by Wynnum’s Cody Edwards saved the day for the Seagulls. It was, however, Seagulls Captain Matt Goodson who sealed victory as he collected a well-delivered pass from Jai Smith to score the match-winning try.
Wynnum Manly Juniors 28 def Eden’s Landing 20.
In other Ted Beaumont games…..
Northside 2: Samford 16 def Norths Juniors 14
Southside 2: St Brendan’s 42 def Capalaba 0
Northside 3: Brighton 30 def Fortitude Valley’s 24