They left it until the penultimate minute; but the Tweed Heads Seagulls were able to claim a hard-fought 13-12 win over the CQ Capras at Browne Park earlier this evening.
A Lindon McGrady field goal in the 78th minute earned the Gulls their seventh win of the season and corrected their course after they fell to a heavy defeat against the Dolphins last weekend.
However, the win may have come at a heavy price for the Gulls, with with hard-working skipper Cheyne Whitelaw suffering a serious knee injury.
Whitelaw lasted just 11 minutes before being escorted from the field after his knee collapsed after he broke the line returning a kick-off after the first try of the match to Brendan Elliot. He tore away and reached Capras fullback Zeik Foster but, after stepping off his left foot, his body crumbled.
He will have scans in coming days to determine the extent of the left knee injury, but fears are that he has torn his ACL.
This comes just two weeks after centre Brayden McGrady, who was the Intrust Super Cup's top try-scorer with 12 tries in eight appearances, tore his ACL to force him out for the season just days after signing with the Penrith Panthers.
For the Capras, it was yet another case of so close; but yet so far this season.
Despite a head-to-head record skewed heavily in their favour (Tweed 22 Central 7 drawn 1 before this game) the Gulls travelled to Browne Park knowing they would have to be fully focussed to overcome a Capras side who have not seen the results their effort has deserved so far this season.
“We have a pretty good record against the Capras but they’re always tough to beat at home and with former Queensland and Titans second-rower Dave Taylor in their side, anything is possible if he plays like he is capable of,” Tweed Heads coach told his club website before the match.
The visitors started well when Titan Brendan Elliot crossed over in just the 10th minute with McGrady converting the try for an early 6-0 lead.
However, Capras backrower and stand-in captain Jerry Key was the next to score and the successful conversion from Connor Broadhurst meant scores were locked at 6-6 at the break in a game where both teams struggled to break through to score.
The second half followed a similar pattern with the Gulls breaking the deadlock with an early try to another Titan in Kane Elgey, with McGrady slotting the conversion.
But the Capras wouldn’t go away and were over 10 minutes later when five-eighth Maipele Morseau crossed, with Broadhurst again true with his boot to level the scores with 26 minutes left on the clock.
But it wasn’t until two minutes from the fulltime siren that the sides could be separated, with McGrady the man to once again steal a win for his team late – this time with his first field goal of the season.
Elgey had earlier failed with a field goal attempt before McLindon nailed his with two minutes remaining.
But from the set after the kick-off, Elgey kicked into touch on the full to give the Capras one last shot at snatching a draw.
Former Queensland Origin rep Taylor had a long-range attempt from over 40 metres but it sailed wide.
Next week, the Seagulls will host the Norths Devils in the Channel 9 (QLD) TV game; while the Capras will travel to Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park to face the Tigers.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 13 (Brendan Elliot, Kane Elgey tries; Linden McGrady 2 goals; Lindon McGrady field goal) def CQ CAPRAS 12 (Jerry Key, Maipele Morseau tries; Connor Broadhurst 2 goals) at Browne Park.
Photo: Lindon McGrady lines up a kick. (File Image from Round 11 via Tweed Heads Media)