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Iona College proves a happy hunting ground for Wynnum Manly

Returning Iona College old boys Harrison Graham and Hostplus Cup debutant  Max Plath put in strong performances to help Wynnum Manly Seagulls defeat the Northern Pride 26-8.

Iona College and Wynnum Manly established a partnership last season, with the College hosting Round 2 of the Hostplus Cup, bringing community and club together in a fantastic setting promoting rugby league in the area. 

A large crowd was on hand to witness some champagne football by both the Pride and Seagulls.

More than 100 past and present Iona students lined the race and all the way to the halfway line as the players took the field to begin proceedings.

Harrison Graham. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Harrison Graham. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

The first half began with both teams displaying tight physical defence, that unfortunately was riddled with mistakes from both teams. 

The Pride scored first in the seventh minute with Pride’s Gideon Gela-Mosby crashing over out wide for a try; Matthew Egan missed the conversion and the Pride were up 4-0.

Then a handling error by the Pride gave the Seagulls possession that culminated with Sydney recruit Sione Hopoate crashing over out wide in the 12th minute to level the scores. Te Maire Martin missed the conversion, and the scores were locked at 4-4. 

That's when the game got ultra-defensive. At Iona College the grandstands are very close to the sideline and the crowd heard and felt every hit and tackle and vocalised them with audible "oohs" and "ahhhhs". 

In the 22nd minute, Mark Rosendale crossed out wide for the Pride and with a missed conversion, the score went to 8-4 and that's where the score stayed until half-time.

Coach Adam Brideson must have said something inspiring during the break, but the Seagulls came out with a new intensity and level of commitment and ran over the top of the Pride. 

The Seagulls got behind each other coming in from everywhere when a big hit led to a mistake by the Pride or even if a Seagulls player made a mistake. This  attitude led to great cohesion and four fantastic second half tries. 

First to Deine Mariner, his fifth in two weeks, converted by Falakiko Manu, then fullback Ben Farr, after a succession of great passes, he dove over out wide for the Seagulls to go up 14-9. 

Graham at hooker kept steering the Seagulls around the field from the ruck and was greatly assisted by Kalolo Saitaua, who ran hard all day at first receiver. 

TC Robati barged over at the 70-minute mark and with the conversion, the Seagulls had an unassailable lead at 20-8.

There was a huge cheer when the ground announcer let the crowd know former Iona star student Plath had taken the field.

Plath has a great rugby league heritage with dad John Plath a former Bronco. 

The crowd erupted again when after a chinking 35-metre run, Plath scored and the conversion was made. 

Plath scores. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Plath scores. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

The Seagulls ran out 26-8 winners.

Coach Brideson was happy the boys started to gel in the second half; happy with the win, he still conceded there is more improvement needed.

The Seagulls will face Townsville Blackhawks in Round 3.

The Pride will take on Mackay Cutters.


Acknowledgement of Country

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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