A field goal gone wrong was just the luck the Tweed Heads Seagulls needed to break their duck this season – with the side scoring in the last minute of play to overcome Wynnum Manly 26-20.
Despite suffering some heavy losses this year – both Gulls always lift for what has become known as the ‘flockbuster’ – and their Round 6 encounter was no different.
In a game that saw plenty of entertaining play and two key sin binnings (Wynnum’s Payne Haas in the 24th minute and Ryland Jacobs in the 64th); scores were locked at 22-22 with just over a minute and half remaining.
The ball went to Eli Levido, whose field goal attempt hit the right upright before being regathered by Lindon McGrady, who then kicked out to the right wing where cousin Brayden McGrady scooped it up and ran in the match-winner.
It was Brayden’s third try of the night and he was mobbed by team-mates as they celebrated their first win.
Earlier in the evening, it had seemed that the home Seagulls were on track to continue their recent domination over Tweed Heads at BMD Kougari Oval where they had won the past four encounters.
After Tweed Heads gave up back-to-back penalties; the home team were able to convert them into an easy try to Mitchell Frei in the 13th minute on the left-hand side after running through the line.
This was followed up only three minutes later by hard-running forward Til Vea on the other side of the field.
However, Tweed Heads were then able to defend back-to-back sets of their line and it seemed to give them confidence.
They were finally able to break through however when they had a one-man advantage when Haas was binned for repeated infringements inside the 10; with winger Kiah Cooper opening his side’s account.
With just under 10 minutes to go in the half, McGrady had his first of the night and the successful conversion for Levido had the visitors up 12-10, a lead they held onto at the break.
McGrady had his second try only three minutes into the second half – but it came from some great team play in the lead-up, with the Tweed Heads forwards able to work their way up the middle with speed, with an offload to the inside finding support before the ball was worked out to the potent right edge.
Both teams then fell into bad habits in the middle period of the half, with handling leaving much to be desired.
But the visitors were the ones to break the funk when they put on a cleanly executed set play that found fullback AJ Brimson running into a gap to extend their lead.
Wynnum Manly needed the momentum to change and it did thanks to some strong work for their forwards. Junior Pita made a huge bust through the middle before offloading to Vea who was brought down a metre from the line.
The NSW Seagulls then committed a professional foul and the referee sent Jacobs to the bin, and the home side immediately capitalised with young Broncos Patrick Carrigan over, reducing the margin to 20-14.
The game was on a knife-edge when Pat Templeman collected an intercept when Tweed Heads were pressing to extend their lead, racing down the field to score in the left-hand corner. He had no problem converting his own try to draw the scores level, but the Wynnum Manly fightback was to be cruelled by a stroke of fortune for Tweed Heads five minutes later.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 26 (Brayden McGrady 3, Ryland Jacobs, AJ Brimson tries; Eli Levido 3 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Mitch Frei, Til Vea, Patrick Carrigan, Patrick Templeman tries; Patrick Templeman 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Photo: Sam Meskell for Tweed Heads in Round 3. FILE IMAGE