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Seagulls and Tigers play out final round draw

The Gold Coast Airport Tweed Seagulls’ BHP Premiership season ended with a combination of pride and heartbreak after a 16-16 draw with Brisbane Tigers at Piggabeen Sports Complex on Sunday.

The Seagulls scored four tries to three, the last coming less than two minutes from full-time when five-eighth Amy Turner crossed scored a brilliant individual try off a set move off a centre-field scrum.

The Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons representative doubled around after passing to left centre Shaylee Bent and beat the scrambling defence with pace.

That left second-rower Zara Canfield – one of Tweed’s best all season in a brave, but under-manned side playing for the second time this season with only 16 players because of injury – with the opportunity to land a difficult goal and give her side a second successive victory to end a tough season, following a 20-14 win against the Capras in Emerald the previous weekend.

However, the ball just swung wide, leaving Tweed with a draw and fifth spot on the ladder in the eight-team competition.

“We certainly didn’t deserve to lose, so a try near the end to draw was just reward for the girls’ efforts,” Tweed coach Chris O’Connell said.

“We dominated the game for a good period and scored four tries to three.

“It was the story of our year. We had a lot of ball, started well, but couldn’t convert that into enough points.

“In most of our games we played really well for 55-60 minutes, but we’d lapse and let in a few tries in the other periods.

“But considering the injuries we had and how we struggled to field enough numbers quite a few times, and to get all the team at training, the girls really put in and hopefully we can keep most of them together and improve further next season.”

Tweed played the entire season without State of Origin second-rower Jessika Elliston who suffered a bad ankle injury in the dying minutes of the final trial game and lost Indigenous All Stars fullback Leticia Quinlan with an ACL injury in the first round.

Yet, they competed to the end with Canfield and Australian representative Tarryn Aiken prominent.

Canfield scored Tweed’s first try in the 12th minute after a long pass to the left from halfback Aiken 10 metres from the line.

Kathrine Moore responded for the Tigers by crashing through the defence from short range on the left edge, with Shae Yvonne De La Cruz giving the Tigers the lead with the conversion.

Brooke Saddler put the Seagulls back in front two minutes after half-time after winning the race for the ball in the left corner from a neat grubber kick off the boot of Canfield, taking the score to 8-6.

Tweed were in again four minutes later when Georgia Hale went over after good lead-up work from dummy half by Rona Peters to make it 12-6.

In the 49th minute Emily Veivers looked left then darted to the right corner to score for Brisbane after winger Lucy Cuppari had been brought down metres from the Seagulls’ line.

Lock Moore went over for her second try in the 53rd minute, just to the left of the posts after stepping off her right foot and burrowing under the defence. Veivers converted to make it 16-12.

After forcing a Tigers’ error, the Tweed players were ecstatic when Turner crossed in the dying seconds, but with a cross wind, it was a difficult kick for Canfield who was warmly embraced by her team mates after full-time.

Main image: Dylan Parker Photography

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