The Ben Campbell Building Group Tweed Heads Seagulls’ incredible winning streak has stretched to six after a hard-fought 18-12 victory over Sunshine Coast Falcons at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
But it did not come without its casualties, with in-form centre Brayden McGrady lasting only nine minutes due to a knee injury.
The Intrust Super Cup’s leading try-scorer, who last week was signed by the Penrith Panthers along with his 18-year-old brother Glenn, will have scans to determine the extent of the injury, but the club is hopeful it is only MCL damage and not season ending.
In the forced backline reshuffle, Eli Levido, who began the season as halfback and has been the run-on hooker in the Seagulls’ last two games, switched to fullback – a position he played regularly for North Sydney last year – and performed well.
Despite their ladder position, the Falcons showed they are far away from a win with a determined effort. They were pushing hard for a draw until 90 seconds to go when centre Jordan Ah-One-Remfrey was forced over the touchline by a desperate Gulls scrambling defence just short of the line.
“That was a good win; they were big and physical and we had some penalties go against us at key times but we stuck in there,” Seagulls coach Ben Woolf said.
“We controlled the ruck pretty well against some big bodies. We did a really good job to get through our sets, get to our kicks and wait for the momentum to swing and get points off the back to it.
“We played a bit tougher and more patient today than we had been and we wouldn’t have come away with a win if we hadn’t improved on the past couple of weeks.”
Tweed’s Gold Coast Titans representatives Leilani Latu, Kane Elgey, Brendan Elliot (who scored two tries), Ryan Simpkins and Kiah Cooper all performed well; but the key to the Seagulls’ winning run has been the effort and consistency of the likes of skipper Cheyne Whitelaw, second-rower Lamar Liolevave (who was the players’ player winner), Lindon McGrady and the energy lightweight utility Jack Cook brings.
The Gulls led 10-0 at halftime through tries to Elliot from a grubber to the left corner in the fourth minute and another on the right by Cooper, who switched from wing to centre after Brayden McGrady left the field.
The Falcons came out firing in the second half and on the back of a rush of possession and centre Justin Olam scored from a short-side dummy half in the 46th minute. The conversion from wide from Ryan Papenhuyzen made it 10-6.
Liolevave crossed from a determined charge on the left edge, off the back of successive penalties, but Lindon McGrady (who landed 1 from 4) missed a relatively easy conversion attempt and it was 14-6 at the 56th minute mark.
Ten minutes later, Olam picked up his second try after he pounced on a smart grubber kick on the left by Rhys Jacks. The conversion by Papenhuyzen made it 12-10 with 12 minutes remaining.
But Elliot sealed the result with seven minutes remaining after getting a repeat set from a Lindon McGrady grubber being fumbled on the last tackle. He was able to score after Elgey threw a long ball that gave him enough room to get outside his man and he fended off two defenders to score in the left corner to cap another smart all-round effort.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 18 (Brendan Elliot 2, Shaun Carney, Lamar Manuel-Liolevave tries; Lindon McGrady goal) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Justin Olam 2 tries; Ryan Papenhuyzen 2 goals) at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
Photo: Brendan Elliot in action for Tweed Heads. Courtesy of Tweed Heads Seagulls Media