In the lead up to the 2019 Intrust Super Cup grand final, Queensland Rugby League are taking a trip down memory lane and reliving several cracking deciders. The last chapter in the series is the 2007 grand final where 18-year-old fullback Shannon Walker lit up Suncorp Stadium to secure Tweed a stunning victory.
Forget the Hayne plane. It was the "Walker plane" that lit up Suncorp Stadium in the 2007 grand final for Tweed Heads.
Shannon Walker, the dazzling Seagulls fullback, scored two tremendous tries within four minutes in the second half to secure a 28-18 victory over Redcliffe and maiden title for the club.
It was Walker’s second try that will forever live in the memory. Redcliffe’s Michael Roberts had put in a chip kick and Walker, at pace, collected the ball and ran around four defenders in 75 metre sprint to the line. Before he planted the ball down one-handed, Walker famously celebrated with his arms outstretched to have the Seagull faithful on their feet.
"I’ll never forget that play. It stands out. Shannon was 18 at the time and it was just youthful exuberance coming to the fore. He dominated that year and to cap the season off with a try like that in a grand final was special,” Tweed Heads skipper Brad Davis recalled.
"Shannon was incredible. He was breathtaking in every sense of the word. He could turn basically nothing into magnificent play.
"As players we were just privileged to have the best seat in the house to help him out and watch him go."
Go. That’s one thing Walker did with absolute flair in the same way that Indigenous superstar Larry Corowa did for Balmain in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
It is a great shame Walker did not play more than the four NRL games that he did for the Gold Coast Titans before going on to represent Australia with real flair in Rugby Sevens.
"Shannon was a free spirit but he was a good trainer too. He listened, and he was just really relaxed,” Davis said.
"Nothing really ever flustered him. He was a bit of a cruiser, but give him the ball on a footy field and he was the complete opposite.
"We thought at that stage he was destined for huge things in the game but never really got a proper crack at the NRL, just bits and pieces and off the bench. I think if they had given him the assurance of playing five or six games without being dropped he would have built on it and been a better player, just knowing his position was there."
Davis and his halves partner Tim Maccan, both teachers at Palm Beach Currumbin High, were on fire in the decider. Davis won the Duncan Hall Medal for best on ground while Maccan was at his scheming best.
The Dolphins took the early lead through a Chris Fox try but the Seagulls then took control. Maccan put through masterful grubber kick for centre David Myles to score. Davis then accelerated and threw a subtle dummy to split the Dolphins defence to score before Myles made it a double to give Tweed Heads an 18-6 lead at the break. A Nick Emmett try for Redcliffe kept the defending premiers in range before Walker got on the end of a Maccan break. Walker’s second try, one of the best seen in a grand final, sealed the deal.
Davis looks back on his partnership with halves partner Maccan with fondness.
"Tim is my best mate and was so underrated at Queensland Cup level. He was brilliant that day," Davis said.
"Most good things we did were on the back of things that he did or set up. We had a really good combination after playing together our whole lives pretty much and going to school together. One of the greatest thing was to win the grand final with mates like that in the team."
There was more to the Seagulls win that year than just dazzling backs.
"We had an underrated forward pack that year. We were playing a big-name Redcliffe pack but our boys stood up,” Davis said.
“We had Chris Enahoro who had come up from South Sydney and had a bit of time at the Titans. He was a big prototype back-rower with a great offload and skill. Roy Friend was a quality good front-rower and on my edge was a young Will Matthews who was coming through the Titans system and went on to have a great career."
The Seagulls were coached by Troy McCarthy in the decider and had been building towards something special.
"The years before that we had Steve Murphy as coach and he had set us on the right path. That year he went up to become a Titans assistant and Troy took over and adding his own take to it," Davis said.
"A lot of the groundwork was laid in those previous years with Steve at the helm."