The Tweed Seagulls piled up the points early on their way to a big 42-0 win over the Townsville Blackhawks at the Piggabeen Sports Complex.
The home side took control of this one early on as a strong yardage set and attacking kick on the last provided the Seagulls with a scrum in good ball following a Blackhawks error.
Toby Sexton’s inclusion in the side pushed Lindon McGrady to fullback but the pair didn’t take long to link up for points. McGrady swept to the right side of the scrum, skipped to the outside of his man to engage the three-in defender, and put Sexton through a gaping hole to open the scoring just two minutes into the match.
As they have done in recent weeks, the Seagulls punched down the left edge in yardage through their combination of Ioane Seiuli and Joshua Patston. Both big bodies with dangerous footwork, the pair are proving difficult to handle with Will Brimson putting them in positions to dominate. This time, Brimson sent Patston through a hole on halfway before the centre was dragged down just short of the line. With the defence scrambled and struggling to get back to the line, Sexton and McGrady again combined for Treymain Spry to score in the 10th minute.
Playing on the front foot following points, the Seagulls cruised up the field. Another punch down the left edge before a long shift to the right took the home side over halfway and in position for McGrady to hang up an attacking kick. Surrounded by the Seagulls kick-chase, Luke Geary couldn’t collect the McGrady bomb with Scott Galeano on hand to collect the crumbs and score Tweed’s third try in the 15th minute for a 14-0 lead.
Tweed continued to find success down the left side in yardage. Sexton is a notable inclusion and displayed good signs on the right side, but Brimson commanded the left edge and the Blackhawks struggled to build pressure in defence.
A handful of Seagulls penalties allowed the Blackhawks to spend some time attacking the line before half-time. Patrick Kaufusi poked his head through the line but couldn’t keep hold of the ball. However, a misfired pass on a right side sweep ended up in the hands of Seagulls lock Charlie Murray, who scampered up the field.
Going back to what had worked earlier in the match, the Seagulls looked left. Some deception from Brent Woolf at dummy half along with a typically engaging line by Seiuli occupied the A and B defenders to provide Brimson with a huge gap to push the lead out to 20-0.
Some frustration from the Blackhawks and feeling from the Seagulls added a little bit of spice to the game just before the break. Both teams gave away penalties leading to a skirmish but neither took it far enough for the referee to reach into his pocket.
Match: Seagulls v Blackhawks
Round 19 -
Venue: Piggabeen Sports Complex, Tweed Heads
Fired up following the break, the Blackhawks threatened early in the second half. A Seagulls penalty translated into the first attacking set after half-time, but a show of ridiculous strength from Jo Vuna dragged Sam Murphy back in front of the goal line, forcing an error in the process.
The Seagulls, however, managed to cross the line when presented with an opportunity of their own in good ball. Brimson’s fingerprints had been all over most of Tweed's best-attacking actions which led to a defender shooting out of the line and looking to close him down. Still, with an opposition player hanging off the back of his jersey, Brimson found Seiuli out wide who put Patston over in the corner.
It wasn’t long before Patston had his second, again on the back of some Brimson brilliance. He spotted Tom Chester slow to track across the field and put in a left-foot chip which sat up perfectly for Patston to push Tweed’s lead out to 30 points in the 60th minute.
Townsville showed their reliance late in the piece. Three Tweed forced dropouts applied pressure to the defence but the line held firm through to the 74th minute. Eventually, the number of tackles the Blackhawks were asked to make in quick succession caught up with them for Spry to score his second of the afternoon.
With one more shot to get themselves on the scoreboard, a left-side shift ended in an error for the Blackhawks. It’s an action that sums up their afternoon, and one Jamayne Isaako returned to the house for a final 42-0 scoreline.
The big win in their last game at home firms Tweed's spot in the top eight ahead of their Round 20 clash against the Brisbane Tigers.
Match: Tigers v Seagulls
Round 20 -
Venue: Totally Workwear Stadium, Brisbane
The Blackhawks will face Norths Devils in Round 20.
Match: Devils v Blackhawks
Round 20 -
Venue: Bishop Park, Brisbane
Toby Sexton was a notable inclusion and popped up in dangerous positions throughout the match. However, Will Brimson stood out as the dominant attacking threat with the ball. He looked likely every time he touched the ball on the front foot down the left side. Whether it be in yardage or good ball, Brimson and the Seagulls left edge asked plenty of questions of the Blackhawks defence.
Sexton's inclusion also triggered yet another change to the Tweed spine. It has been a constant challenge throughout the season. Still, the attack seems to fire regardless of who fills the key playmaking positions. Sexton and Treymain Spry scored down the right side and Brimson on the left all inside 35 minutes to leave no question that this new-look spine had plenty of points in them despite their inexperience playing beside each other this season.
Jo Vuna is making his return from injury and looked better again this week. Brutal in defence and a strong carrier of the ball, Vuna will play a big part in how the Seagulls get up the field in the coming weeks. Packing punch off the bench, his rotation with JJ Collins ensures Tweed are dangerous in the middle across the full 80 minutes.
Tweed coach Ben Woolf has been forced to rotate through different players in the spine for much of the season but Will Brimson, Toby Sexton and Lindon McGrady gelled together from kick-off.
“The three of them combined well and again showed their ability to adjust to different combinations and positions without issue today,” Woolf said.
“Will was strong again on the left side as was Lindon on the right.”
The 42 points are pleasing, but after mentioning a focus on playing the full 80 minutes last week, Woolf was particularly happy with the defence through to the end.
“Our defence was strong today. We still had a couple of soft errors but our line stayed connected throughout and it was pleasing to keep them to nil," Woolf said.