The Tweed Seagulls came out on top against West Brisbane Panthers in an entertaining and high-scoring game at Pizzey Park, drawing their Holcim Cup season to a close with a win 28-26 in their final match.
The action was end-to-end throughout the game; with both sides showcasing their attacking flair in the match.
It wasn’t without errors however, with both teams applying pressure to cause turnovers.
The game was in the balance until the final moments, with the Seagulls able to snatch the victory with just over a minute to go after a try from Lailee Phillips was successfully converted by Chelsea Baker.
“That was outstanding, that improvement on last week and the grit and determination just got them through to the end,” Tweed Seagulls coach Mike Castle said of his side’s resilience this year.
“Even before the BHP Premiership, the amount of rain we had and changes in the squad with injuries; and to be told we couldn’t play; the effort and the willingness to turn up (has been impressive).
“They were all really well conditioned for when we came back (from the COVID break) and then to get another knock back when we had to miss that week (in Round 2); I couldn’t be prouder, they kept turning up and kept trying hard and the improvement has been outstanding.”
It was game where the lead changed a number of times, with neither side able to pull away from their opposition.
The Panthers were on the back foot from the kick-off, with their error gifting Tweed the ball and the Seagulls made them pay, with impressive halfback Tarryn Aiken scoring the opening try of the afternoon in a familiar footwork-filled fashion.
Tweed had the breeze at their backs and Aiken was in again soon after, with Baker’s successful conversion putting Tweed out to a handy 12-0 lead.
West Brisbane had their first real chance with the ball 10 minutes into the game after an error from Tweed coming out of their own half, but they squandered the chance.
However, it wasn’t long before the to-and-fro that epitomised the game began, with classy centre Julia Robinson sparking the Panthers with a cutting run to score, taking a pass from halfway and doing the rest herself.
Last year’s SEQW Division 1 winners narrowed the gap even more after a penalty given up by Tweed eventually saw winger Lilly Green over in the corner.
Robinson was busy all game and went looking for work, with her effort rewarded in the first half with a second try out to her right side to put the Panthers in front with just under five minutes left until halftime.
Tweed hit straight back though thanks to Jess Elliston, who was one of her side’s best performers, going on a typically strong run to go in by the left upright.
The Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons representative’s try saw the scores locked at 14-14 at the break.
The second half began in direct contrast to the first; and this time it was Tweed with an early error to give Wests a chance in good position.
However, it took until mid-day in the half for the Panthers to strike again, with Robinson using her footwork to run in and put her side back in front, while the conversion from Romy Teitzel saw them lead 20-14.
In an end-to-end game, Tweed were right back in it when centre Olivia Attenborough-Doyle gleefully accepted an Aiken pass to go over in the far-right corner.
The tough conversion on the sideline was waved away, but it mattered little, as Tweed were the next on the board again when Elliston bagged her double, after trailing in after Aiken on a break.
But they could not hold onto the lead, with Lana Sheedy going in with powerful dummy half run to put the Panthers in front once more with eight minutes left on the clock.
A frantic final few minutes ensured, but it was the clever work from Phillips at dummy half that finally helped clinch it for the Seagulls.
“I am way greyer, even from before the start of the game, I have more grey hairs; and we didn’t help ourselves at times, but we just kept showing up when it mattered,” Castle said.
“The likes of Tarryn (Aiken) and Chelsea (Baker) got their hands on the ball and defensively, Jess (Elliston) and Kirra Stedman defensively were really strong and across the board, every player on the field has a moment where they made it count and it resulted on the win.”