The Wynnum Manly Seagulls hoped a new strip would start a new streak on Saturday, but fell short of toppling the Townville Blackhawks who visited BMD Kougari Oval for the first time.
It was the start the Seagulls would have wanted however, up 10 points after seven minutes following a Blackhawks mistake on their opening set. This set up the Seagulls to launch a shift out to the left where their leading try-scorer Jack Goodsell finished for a try within the first two minutes.
In a last-minute change, Wynnum’s Swiss army knife Mitchell Cronin added another positon to his repertoire, starting at fullback, where he added the Seagulls’ second try.
Consecutive penalties saw the Blackhawks move into positon to answer the early blows by the Seagulls, and they got on the board via Ty Carucci who charged in off a short ball from fullback Carlin Anderson.
More penalties threatened the home side’s lead 15 minutes in, and it was a Seagull error that saw the Blackhawks go in for back-to-back tries after Anderson got involved again, using his blistering pace to score from a misdirection scrum piece.
The action down Townsville’s left-hand side continue three-minutes later when they spotted an overlap and sent winger Jonathon Rueben in for classic winger’s finish to break the deadlock.
Both teams would exchange repeat sets toward the back end of the second half; Wynnum particularly looking ominous with a series of penalties inside the Blackhawks redzone, but the score line would remain 14-10 to the visitors going into halftime.
In similar fashion to their first try, the Blackhawks opened the second half one tackle after a penalty, using another backline movement that saw Reuben make it a double.
Penalties continued to shape the outcome of the game, this time Wynnum taking advantage of back-to-back whistles to eventually send centre Mitchell Buckett crashing over on the blindside.
Brendon Gibb almost earned the lead back for his side when he rumbled over on Wynnum’s next trip in Blackhawk territory, but was held up by the desperate Townsville defense by Anderson and Jordan Kenworthy.
The game’s pace slowed down for a period as both teams, only separated by two points, began to rely on their forwards, with captain Daniel Beasley a particular standout for the visitors.
But as time began to become a pertinent factor, the Seagulls opted to chance their hand, resulting in mixed outcomes following a period that saw an error on a 5th tackle run attempt before later successfully regaining possession on a short drop-out.
The success however would be short lived for the ‘Gulls; an error on the ensuing set gave the Blackhawks the platform they needed to seemingly put the game to bed after winger Samsen O’Neill displayed plenty of strength to power over in the right corner with two minutes left.
However, the game remained in the balance after a missed sideline conversion from Anderson kept the drama alive. It only heightened when Wynnum managed to regain possession on the subsequent kick-off, giving the home side a chance at stealing a potential draw in the dying seconds.
This almost came to fruition after a cross-field kick eventually found its way into Peter Gubb’s hands before he threw a prayer over his shoulder that found forward Aaron Rockley who was stopped agonisingly close to the line as the Blackhawks held on to victory.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 (Jonathon Reuben 2, Ty Carucci, Carlin Anderson, Samsen O’Neill tries; Carlin Anderson goal) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 16 (Jack Goodsell, Mitchell Cronin, Mitchell Buckett tries; Mathew Seamark 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.