The hope for a finals berth is still alive for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls after a 42-18 win over local rivals Easts Tigers yesterday.
Both teams came in licking their wounds, with the Tigers last week bettered by the competition-leading Dolphins and Wynnum out-enthused by a surprising Norths Devils outfit.
The game’s beginning would look ominous for the home side where an early try to Easts’ Tommy Butterfield would be compounded by consecutive game-ending injuries to Seagulls’ prop Tim Natusch (ankle) and halfback Mathew Seamark (concussion).
Wynnum coach Jon Buchanan would adjust superbly however, with his team building an 18-6 lead by halftime after answering back with three tries and a penalty goal.
Easts would start a comeback attempt after flank Dane Chang powered his way to a try out wide in the 50th minute, but a steep second half penalty count had Wynnum cashing in on their opportunities.
The two-man bench saw the Seagulls forwards play well beyond their usual shift, but it did not seem to faze them, with four of the seven Wynnum tries contributed via the pack.
Usual bench hooker Mitchell Moore saw time in the halfback role in the absence of Seamark, forcing Mitchell Cronin and Alehana Mara to share dummy-half responsibilities.
Forward Salesi Funaki shifted out to the centres where he would display some skill with a deft pass to get Peter Gubb across in the 61st minute.
Frustration would mount for Easts late in the second half, with defensive errors and penalties sealing their fate in the derby.
They would rally however to get big Samuel Gee over the line in the final minutes as consolation.
“Everyone did their job really well today,” Buchanan said. “It was one of our best, even after losing a couple players in the first 10.”
He praised the efforts of his forward pack, listing Aaron Rockley, Stephen Coombe and Magnus Stromquist amongst the stand-outs, whilst also commending five-eighth Patrick Templeman for keeping a cool head.
“… Seamark does a lot of the directing when he’s out there, Templeman stayed very composed without him there.”
The win sees Wynnum stay relevant alongside Easts and Souths Logan in the tightly contested race to sixth place.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 42 (Mitchell Cronin 2, Stephen Coombe, Alex Barr, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Peter Gubb, Aaron Rockley tries; Patrick Templeman 7 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 18 (Tommy Butterfield, Dane Chang, Samuel Gee tries; Billy Walters 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.