The Campbell Construction Co. Tweed Seagulls weathered wet and soggy conditions to outlast the Central Queensland Capras 18-12 at Browne Park, Rockhampton in Round 13.
Tweed found themselves under early pressure when a Lee Turner penalty forced them into defending a full set on their line. However, the defence held firm in what would become a telling trend throughout the 80 minutes.
The wet conditions made it difficult for both teams to get up the field and Tweed appeared to play a territory game early.
Lindon McGrady put in a pin-point grubber to force Central Queensland to travel 99 metres if they wanted to score before running it on the last and into the corner on the following set. However, penalties allowed the Capras easy passage up the field on both occasions to release the pressure.
The Seagulls have proven already this year that they’re willing to shift the football no matter the conditions.
Sam Lisone made sure to insert himself into the attack as a ball-player through the middle and sent Braden Robson through half a gap.
Shortly after, he linked up with McGrady one-off the ruck before McGrady threw a harbour bridge pass out to Will Brimson. Streaking down the right side from halfway, Brimson’s one-two with Jojo Fifita ended with the Seagulls centre opening the scoring in the 12th minute.
It wasn’t long before the Seagulls were presented with an opportunity to attack in good ball and made the most of it with a wide-ranging shift from the left corner to the right.
JJ Collins took a long pass from dummy half and found McGrady wider, through the hands while drawing jamming defenders, the Seagulls right edge put Fifita over in the corner to push their lead out to 12-0.
The Capras weren’t short of opportunities with the ball, earning a repeat set in the 30th minute and spending back-to-back sets inside the Seagulls' 20-metre line.
However, they came up empty-handed while the visitors surged up the field in response. A destructive Collins carry into an offload to Craig Garvey soon translated into a Brimson kick into the far corner to pin the Capras deep in their own end of the field.
Tweed managed to add another try before half-time with close to a mirror image shift of their second try.
This time starting on the right and looking left, Collins and McGrady again linked up before Brimson skipped to the outside of his man to engage the right centre.
Turner straightened the attack to bring the winger infield and found Scott Galeno in the corner for a 16-0 lead.
Looking to answer back in the second half, the Capras scored the first points through a deflected grubber, which found its way into the hands of Jesse Jennings in the 49th minute.
A McGrady penalty goal four minutes later made it 18-6 as this game once again turned into a back and forth grind. Both sides worked towards forcing a mistake out of the opposition.
The errors came. Nixon Putt gave away a penalty which put the Seagulls into attacking territory but they couldn’t turn the field position into points.
At the other end, errors working out of their own 20-metre zone in three consecutive sets put the Seagulls line under pressure. It took two more repeat sets for the Capras to cross the line.
Jack Madden hung one up for Jonus Pearson who leapt above a crowd of Seagulls defenders to pluck the ball out of the air to make it 18-12 with seven minutes to play.
Central Queensland threw everything at Tweed in the final moments - they weren’t going home wondering.
A grubber from inside their own half early in the count put the Capras hot on the attack but Tweed kept them out. While trying to wind down the clock and close the game out, Bailey Butler put a shot on Collins to force an error and give them one more chance at levelling the scores.
However, as had been the case so often in this one, the Seagulls defence held up and held on to secure an impressive 18-12 win.
In a match that forced a reshuffle, the Seagulls didn’t miss a beat. Tweed coach Ben Woolf was especially happy with how the team responded defensively.
“We are lucky enough to have several players that can play multiple positions which definitely helped today,” said Woolf.
“We defended our line really well. Both of their tries came from kicks so it was a credit to our defence in the second half.”
He also made mentioned of Lisone’s involvement in tough conditions.
“Sam was a good inclusion and his carries helped today, although the conditions didn’t really suit him,” Woolf said.