A late try from XXXX man of the match Brendon Gibb lifted the Wynnum Manly Seagulls to their third straight win, this time over a valiant Tweed Heads Seagulls.
The NSW Seagulls were left heartbroken with the 24-18 loss in the battle of the Seagulls on a wet North Stradbroke Island – after leading 18-0 after just 11 minutes.
Tweed were made to pay dearly for crucial errors in the trying conditions and were left to rue a near-miss by right winger Brayden McGrady who failed to ground a brilliant kick by his cousin Lindon McGrady over the line late in the first half.
The team from south of the border had a perfect start to the match with two tries from short range to go to a 12-0 lead after just six minutes.
The first came from James Wood, back in the side at left centre after missing selection in the first two rounds, down the short side. It was converted by Michael Burgess.
Damian Sironen – who was impressive all game – soon after strolled through on the right edge from an inside ball from halfback Burgess, which was converted for 12-0 with Wynnum having only touched the ball from the opening set.
In the 11th minute a tremendous cut-out ball from Lindon McGrady, switched from fullback to five-eighth, to his cousin Brayden McGrady put him into space and he found James Toole supporting inside to score a wonderful try. Burgess was again on target to make it 18-0.
Wynnum Manly were on the board soon after with a try down the left to Mitchell Buckett from a grubber in the sloppy conditions to make it 18-4.
Wynnum Manly were next to score through Mitch Cronin as Tweed Heads were made to pay for errors which gave the other Seagulls a run of possession – two dropped balls, forward pass from dummy half then a penalty late in the tackle count.
However, an intercept when under pressure from Sam Carson then another brilliant piece of work from Lindon McGrady turned the momentum, but provided no points.
After a turnover of possession from a Wynnum lost ball, Lindon grubbered from 40m and Brayden won the race for the ball over the line; but instead diving on it he tried to scoop it up and knocked on.
In the ensuing set, Wynnum scored again with numbers to the left giving Jack Goodsell an easy touchdown, converted by Travis Burns to make it 18-16 four minutes before the break.
It took nearly half an hour for the next points to be scored in the second half as heavy rain made going tough for both sides and physical defence dominated.
Co-captain Sironen was penalised in front of the posts for taking out a decoy runner who was not in possession and Burns landed the two points to level the scores 18-18.
Heartbreak came in the 74th minute that sunk Tweed to a demoralising loss.
Wynnum kicked into space on the last and the ball fell short of Tweed fullback Talor Walters and winger Tevita Folau. However, Wynnum lock Gibb followed through, scooping up the ball and carrying it over the line with Walters and Folau unable to turn him over and avoid the ball being grounded.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 24 (Mitchell Buckett, Mitchell Cronin, Jack Goodsell, Brendon Gibb tries; Travis Burns 4 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 18 (James Wood, Damian Sironen, James Toole tries; Michael Burgess 3 goals) at Ron Stark Oval, Stradbroke Island.