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Dearden debuts as Gulls deny Cutters

Rising young halfback Tom Dearden had a debut to remember as he helped steer the Wynnum Manly Seagulls to a 16-8 win over a gusty Mackay Cutters.

It was also a big day for the coaches of both the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Mackay Cutters as both Adam Brideson and Steve Sheppard brought up their 50th cap in charge of their sides respectively.

Although the Seagulls missed a chance to go on the attack early, due to not finding touch off a penalty, they still managed to score first, after a Sam Scarlett bomb fell to centre Delouise Hoeter who quickly passed to Alex Barr, who in turn did the same for Jordan Drew to cross in the corner in his first game for the Seagulls in 2019.

Dearden – at 18 years of age – was playing his first game of Intrust Super Cup, and according to the Channel 9 commentators, he was originally named to play in the club's Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup side.

Instead, he looked classy with every touch showing the crowd at BMD Kougari Oval why he is touted to be the next big thing for the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.

Dearden was unlucky not to score after a break saw him slice through the Cutters defence, and put the ball down beside the posts, only for it to be called back for an obstruction.

While it was a no try for the Seagulls, the Cutters made no mistake when they got down their attacking end.

It took a superb piece of athleticism from Marcus Jensen to bat the ball back from outside the field of play to a swooping Cooper Bambling to pass it on for Paul Byrnes to score the first try of the afternoon fort the Cutters in the 13th minute, and lock things up at 4-4.

Although the Seagulls dominated possession and field position heavily throughout the first half, it was the Cutters who went into the break with an 8-4 lead; thanks to another outstanding try out wide to Yamba Bowie who was celebrating his 50th Intrust Super Cup match in style.

Yamba Bowie in action for the Cutters.
Yamba Bowie in action for the Cutters.

At halftime, Wynnum Manly coach Brideson said wanted his players to focus on dominating the middle and the rest would flow. The Seagulls came out and did just that.

Dearden featured heavily again to set up Junior Pauga off a pin-point kick and the Seagulls had the lead back within three minutes of the second half. Dearden then converted the try to put the Seagulls up 10-8.

However, the Cutters just wouldn’t go away as the match fell into a real arm wrestle.

Before Dearden continued his fine afternoon with everything going his way, he opted to take few steps before kicking on the last, the kick took a massive deflection and landed in the hands of Ed Burns’ who drew Cutters fullback Paul Brynes in and passed to halfback Sam Scarlett to score under the sticks in front of the Chook Pen and send the crowd into a frenzy.

The Seagulls led 16-8 with nine to go on the clock – and that’s the way the game ended.

The Seagulls have now won two straight games at home and three on trot and by going off the fans impressions; the Seagulls are a real shot this year and will look to continue their form when they play Tweed next week.

The Cutters battled gamely after they were left with only one on the bench with Blake Atherton unable to return after falling in a big tackle, with Logan Bayliss failed his HIA.

Next week, Mackay travel to Townsville to face the Blackhawks in an enticing northern derby.


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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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