It was an Easter Sunday classic at Suzuki Stadium yesterday as one of the Intrust Super Cup’s fiercest rivalries lived up to all expectations as the Tigers got the chocolates 19-11 over Wynnum Manly.
However, the visitors dominated the first half, with veteran halves Mathew Seamark and late inclusion Travis Burns guiding the Seagulls around the field superbly.
Their kicking game kept the Tigers pinned in their own 20m zone for extended periods and gave Wynnum plenty of attacking opportunities. Only tireless Tigers defence kept Wynnum from scoring more than they did.
This was not the Tigers best first half performance with dropped ball and a failure to complete sets costing them. However, coach Scott Sipple would have been happy with their effort in defence, where they managed to restrict their opposition to one try.
The first points came in the 25th minute when Seamark hoisted a kick in the scoreboard corner and the usually reliable Jarrod McInally soared high, but completely missed the ball.
In the confusion that ensued, Seamark was the first to get a hand to the rolling ball and the referee pointed to the spot. He converted and Wynnum had the 6-0 lead.
Wynnum crossed the stripe twice more in the first half, but were denied by the referee, while the Tigers did create some attacking opportunities – but could not quite get the timing right, rendering them scoreless in the half.
Undoubtedly though, it was the Wynnum forwards won the first half, with the returning Mitchell Dodds and Salesi Funaki particularly impressive.
The half ended with one of the strangest minutes of football you are ever likely to see. Burns slotted a 39th minute field goal and with 20 seconds on the clock, the Tigers needed to kick off and make one tackle.
However, the kick off soared over the sideline, so Seamark walked to the middle of the halfway line and pointed to the posts. His penalty sailed over the black dot and in under a minute, Wynnum had gone from 6-0 up to the unusual halftime score of 9-0.
Sipple’s halftime message had been to attack down the left and that is exactly what they did off the kick off.
A brilliantly timed pass from XXXX man of the match Jake Foster found Gerard McCullum chiming into the backline at just the right moment. He burst into open space before linking with Linc Port who scored without a hand being laid on him. The kick was waved away, but the Tigers had at last opened their account.
In the 46th minute, Seamark slotted a penalty goal from right in front to take Wynnum out to 11-4.
Easts were the next to score when Foster swooped on a perfectly placed Billy Walters grubber kick to score beside the posts. Walters converted and suddenly Wynnum’s lead had evaporated and with 25 minutes on the clock, the score was 11-10.
It was not to stay that way for long though, as in the 65th minute, birthday boy Tom Butterfield took the game by the scruff of the neck.
After collecting the ball from a regulation play the ball, he looked up, saw space and dashed 30m up field to score. Walters converted and for the first time in the game, and with 13 minutes left to play, the Tigers had the lead. Brodie Croft slotted a 76th minute field goal and Walters a 78th minute penalty to complete the scoring.
Foster, Charlie Galo and McCullum were the Tigers best on the day, with McCullum a constant threat, while Wynnum’s captain Mitchell Frei, hooker Mitch Cronin and forward John Te Reo stood out in a losing side.
EASTS TIGERS 19 (Linc Port, Jake Foster, Tommy Butterfield tries; Billy Walters 3 goals; Brodie Croft field goal) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 11 (Mathew Seamark try; Mathew Seamark 3 goals; Travis Burns field goal) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.