It's been a tough few weeks of competition to get to this point – but this weekend will see Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Tweed Seagulls go head-to-head in the grand final of the Under 18 Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup competition.
When Wynnum Manly and Tweed met earlier this season in Round 5, Wynnum Manly proved to be the stronger of the Seagulls on the day, winning 20-16.
Both teams played exceptionally well in Finals Week 1 last weekend with both coaches proud of their on-field performance of their players.
Match: WM Seagulls v Seagulls
Grand Final -
Venue: BMD Kougari Oval
Wynnum Manly coach Jody Barlow was pleased with his team’s performance against the Falcons that secured a spot in the final and was also happy with how his team has not only learnt, but grown over the season.
“The first half was exceptional, and the boys closed the game out,” Barlow said.
“Our completion rate was over the 90% and our ball control was good.
“Defensively, this is what will win the game on the weekend, so we have been focusing on our defensive shape and patterns and all the players knowing their roles and working on executing them to the best of their ability.
“From day one, I knew Tweed would be up there in the top 4 as they are very gifted across the park and have some fire power which will keep us on our toes.”
Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup semi-final highlights: Seagulls v Falcons
Tweed Seagulls coach Tim Maccan commended his team on their impressive performance against Magpies.
“Last week’s match was very competitive and high quality with very few errors,” Maccan said.
“We made the most of the opportunities and supported each other, which paid off scoring three tries back to back and having possession of the ball for 6 minutes at one point of the match.
“In the second half, we came out really well as a team with Reece Walsh having the best game he has played to date and Juwan Compain also being a stand out for our squad.
“This week we will be looking at applying pressure and focusing on our game.”
What a weapon!' - Reece Walsh
This Sunday’s match will be a big day for both clubs with it being the first time an Under 18 Wynnum Manly squad has been in the finals and the first time Tweed has been in a state final as a senior club since 2011.
“For a lot of the guys, this is their second year with me and are excited for a high quality this weekend,” Barlow said.
“We had a pretty tough year last year; things didn’t go our way and we didn’t quite have the quality of play we do this year, so it will be really rewarding for the team and staff, who have helped put the guys on the paddock.
“The club is really excited about the prospects of our playing group moving forward to Colts and even higher.”
Barlow also recognised his assistant coaches, former Bronco Mitchell Dodds and Welsh international Matt Seamark.
“Both assistant coaches have been a big part of the squad this season and know what it’s like to play for our jersey and our club,” Barlow said.
“We have all played football and have had experience over the years, and this has shown when managing the extended squad of 35 this year, who have all done their job and put in a great amount of effort.
Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup semi-final highlights: Magpies v Seagulls
Tweed's Tim Maccan spoke about what the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup means to his club and his achievement of taking a squad to the state final as his first year as head coach.
“I have been in the coaching ranks for three years and know all the players so am pretty stoked to be in the state final,” he said.
“It is a great opportunity for the boys to show case their skills at an elite level and they are really excited and keen on making sure they get the job done on the weekend.”
Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Tweed Seagulls will face off at 12.25pm this Sunday at BMD Kougari Oval for the state honours. Those who can’t get to the game can livestream the action at QRL.com.au or the QRL Facebook page.