The Romano Group Seagulls were put to the sword against a classy Sunshine Coast Falcons at Piggabeen yesterday, and were overrun to lose 58-0.
It was always going to be a tough challenge for the inexperienced Seagulls side who were up against a Falcons outfit boasting Melbourne players who had played NRL this season including Ryley Jacks, Tui Kamikamica and Vince Leuluai - as well as promising squad member and former Gull Jahrome Hughes whose form so far year has earned him another Queensland Residents jersey.
They also had Kiwi international Tohu Harris (returning from a foot injury) in the side, while hooker Brandon Smith had a strong game and found out after the match he had been selected in the New Zealand Test squad.
However, this was no reason for the raft of unforced errors that undid some spirited and physical defence by the Gulls in the first 20 minutes which suggested an intense battle was in the making.
The Falcons hit a 4-0 lead in the 15th minute after they scored a close-range try down the right edge to winger Sam Young, after they had marched themselves upfield following a Seagulls error with the ball deep in Falcon’s territory.
This became the template of the match with the home side unable to mount any pressure due to fundamental errors; completing at just 43% in the first half, often compounding errors by penalties.
And as any good team is bound to do – the Sunshine Coast made sure they capitalised on every opportunity and inevitably, the floodgates opened.
Jye Ballinger got their second after 26 minutes following another spill near the Falcons line led to them claim a 40-20 repeat set. He was in again two minutes later from a similar play on the left edge after the Falcons had mounted a raid from their own half on the right.
Before halftime the Falcons had crossed twice more, with the first coming from centre Jeremy Hawkins after back-to-back penalties, while the next came a minute before the break when Harris, who had been well contained until then, crashed over from close range also on the right.
The visitors took eight minutes to add points in the second half with Jake Turpin strolling through a big gap under the posts.
The Gulls – who by this time had lost two players in co-captain Damian Sironen (HIA) and fullback Talor Walters (ankle and head knock) – had no answers against a Falcons side who had been urged to up their game by coach Craig Ingebrigtsen following a heavy loss to Redcliffe last weekend.
Winger Alex Copelin scored a brilliant try in the 61st minute from a movement began near the Falcons’ line as the match turned into a parade with the visitors scoring five tries in the final 19 minutes.
Jacks strolled over from dummy half from close to the line, while Young crossed for another long-range effort. Copelin brought up the half-century when he picked up his second try with a brilliant left-foot step beating the last two defenders. Scott Drinkwater rounded off the big results with a chip-and-regather try with 36 second remaining.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 58 (Samuel Young 2, Jye Ballinger 2, Alexander Copelin 2, Jeremy Hawkins, Tohu Harris, Jake Turpin, Ryley Jacks, Scott Drinkwater tries; Guy Hamilton 5, Scott Drinkwater, Samuel Young goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 0 at Piggabeen Sports Complex.