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Statewide score wrap: Tugun gains steely edge to support big hearts

The first question the players under 20 years of age asked when he started barking instructions in the Tugun Seahawks preseason was: 'Who is this lunatic?'.

But when they heard about the CV of Billy Johnstone - the Queensland Maroons strength and conditioning coach from 1998-2009 - they quickly got a grasp of what everyone else already knew they were in for.

They can now see the results too, with the Seahawks claiming the massive scalp of defending premiers Southport Tigers with a 24-16 win away from home on Saturday.

The defeat was the Tigers' first since April 2023 and for many Seahawks players and fans it was sweet revenge for the grand final loss to them last year.

Billy Johnstone (right) back in rugby league with the Tugun Seahawks, where his son Will is captain-coach. Photo: Supplied
Billy Johnstone (right) back in rugby league with the Tugun Seahawks, where his son Will is captain-coach. Photo: Supplied

Tugun's win was more impressive doing so without former NSW State of Origin hooker Nathan Peats, who has brought vast experience to the club this season, along with former Gold Coast Titans halfback Kane Elgey, coaxed back to his junior club after a hiatus from the game.

Seahawks captain-coach Will Johnstone said his dad's methods were a shock to some to start with, but have since been embraced, with Billy also involved as a League Safe trainer and working with those working back from injury.

"At first they were a bit taken aback, but the boys now they actually love it and we've instilled that culture of hard work and he loves it as well because he hasn't been involved in rugby league for a few years, and for him to be back in rugby league and working with me as well, it's a great opportunity for him," Will said.

Billy Johnstone in his time with the Kangaroos. Photo: NRL
Billy Johnstone in his time with the Kangaroos. Photo: NRL

"But it's a great opportunity for some of these young local fellas to work with someone who has worked at his level.

"Some of the young fellas who are 18-19, they had no idea who he was and they just thought he was some old fella who was half crazy to be honest and once they got to know who he was... they were like 'wow, this is cool'.

"It's great he can give back his knowledge to the local club. He doesn't say a lot, but whenever he does speak and puts his two cents in, it's always heard."

Will had known Elgey since their school days and said he and Peats had added to making the club culture even better in 2024.

"He's had a couple of years out of the game, so he was a little bit hesitant at first, but the opportunity to come back to play for his junior club - and he's got a young family himself, a young boy and the chance for (his son) to see Kane play... it's a highlight for him," he said.

"Peatsy has done it all in the game... and he's a really experienced footballer but he's also just a really good bloke to have around, helps with coaching, teaches the young fellas, always puts his two cents in and he's not just there to play and get out of there. He's great on the community side and he's got a young family as well."

Nathan Peats and Kane Elgey.
Nathan Peats and Kane Elgey.

Will is passing down his knowledge in other areas too, as a teacher involved in the rugby league program at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School and as a coach in the 'Baby Hawks' program.

"It's a stark difference going from the four-year-olds to A grade men," he said.

While the A grade form will create some excitement through the year, it's what is happening off the field that really turns heads.

The next time they play Southport, at home on June 29, will be a fundraiser for MND with the A grade and reserves wearing MND Footy Socks. It will double with junior-senior engagement with under 7 players also wearing the socks, playing as a curtain-raiser to A grade, running out with the senior team and joining the fun in the sheds post-game.

A few weeks later on July 20 is Ladies Day, when Tugun hosts local rivals Currumbin and raise money for The Sanctuary Women, Children and Pets Refuge.

The Seahawks have raised more than $45,000 for the Gold Coast-based charity over the past three years.

On the field, A grade players will be wearing pink just about from head to toe, with jerseys to be auctioned off following their match, while off the field the ladies will enjoy lunch, drinks, laughs and footy.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from bar staff at the Tugun Leagues Club. People who want to know more or anyone who wants to donate to the mega raffle for the day should contact Karen Denny 0416019777.

"It always drags in a big crowd when Tugun play Currumbin, so hopefully Ladies Day can be massive this year," Will said.

"I've played at a few different clubs, but Tugun is the best club I've ever seen, just with the community we have. They're not the biggest club by any means but they make it count with the stuff they do in the community."

Will Johnstone in action.
Will Johnstone in action.

The whole package is something Will loves being part of and he hoped it would all help be a positive influence on the young people coming through the grades.

"At the end of the day, that's what rugby league is about. Very few people go on to do it as a profession and do it at the highest level, and I think the majority of what rugby league is about, especially in Queensland, is it's about that community and community clubs and fostering a good environment for young people to be healthy and play team sport together," he said.

QRL South East region

Brisbane Rugby League Premier A grade

Round 7 results

West Brisbane Panthers 40 def Valleys Diehards 36

Brighton Roosters 36 def Souths Juniors 28

Wynnum Manly Juniors 28 drew with Carina Tigers 28

Beenleigh Pride 36 def Normanby Hounds 12

Bulimba Bulldogs 32 def Redcliffe Juniors 22


Rugby League Gold Coast Earth Fleet Cup A grade

Round 5 results

Currumbin Eagles 24 def Helensvale Hornets 8

Tugun Seahawks 24 def Southport Tigers 16

Burleigh Bears 40 def Runaway Bay Seagulls 24


South East Premier Grade Women

Round 5 results

Runaway Bay Seagulls 12 def Waterford Demons 10

Aspley Devils 16 def Valleys Diehards 12

Goodna Eagles 36 def Pine Central Holy Spirit Hornets 16


Ipswich Jets A grade

Round 6 results

Redbank Plains Bears 52 def West End Bulldogs 6

Brothers Ipswich 44 def Fassifern Bombers 16

Swifts 34 def Norths Tigers 18


QRL North region

FNQRL Men's A grade

Round 9 results

Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks 62 def Southern Suburbs Cockatoos 20

Cairns Brother 40 def Cairns Kangaroos 10

Ivanhoes Knights 34 def Atherton Roosters 16

Edmonton Storm 36 def Tully Tigers 12

Innisfail Leprechauns 26 def Mareeba Gladiators 24



Round 9 results

Cairns Kangaroos 26 def Edmonton Storm 12

Ivanhoes Maidens 28 def Atherton Roosters 12


Zenadth Kes Rugby League Island Rooster Cup Men's Competition

Round 3 results

Mulga Tigers 20 def Pioneer Knights 0

Roosters 18 def Suburbs 16

Ladder not available

Rugby League Mackay & District NQBE Men's A grade

Round 5 results

Souths Sharks 32 def Moranbah Miners 12

Mackay Brothers 24 def Mackay Magpies 10

Wests Tigers 70 def Carltons Devils 10

Sarina Crocodiles 40 def Whitsunday Brahmans 14


Rugby League Mackay & District QOHS Women's A grade

Round 1 results

Moranbah Miners 24 def Sarina Crocodiles 10

Mackay Brothers 10 def Mackay Magpies 6


Rugby League Townsville & District Men's A grade

Round 7 results

Burdekin Roosters 38 def Centrals Tigers 0

Brothers Townsville 26 def Norths Devils 6

Souths Bulls 44 def Charters Towers Miners 26


Rugby League Townsville & District Open Women

Round 7 results

Brothers Townsville 34 def Norths Devils 8

Centrals Tigers 20 def Burdekin Roosters 12


Mount Isa Rugby League Men's A grade

Round 10 results

Townies 28 def Wanderers 6


Mount Isa Rugby League Women's A grade

Round 8 results

Wranglers 32 def Cloncurry Eagles 8


QRL Central region

Toowoomba Rugby League Hutchison Builders Men's A grade

Round 7 results

Warwick Cowboys 34 def Goondiwindi Boars 16

Dalby Diehards 44 def Highfields Eagles 10

Wattles Warriors 62 def Newtown Lions 8

Gatton Hawks 48 def Southern Suburbs Tigers 12

Pittsworth Danes 26 def Toowoomba Brothers 14

Valleys Roosters 52 def Oakey Bears 4


Toowoomba Rugby League Toowoomba Sports Club Open Women

Round 7 results

Valleys Roosters 16 def Oakey Bears 8

Highfields Eagles 32 def Dalby Diehards 26

Gatton Hawks 16 def Southern Suburbs Tigers 0


Border Rugby League Men's Competition

Round 2 results

MacIntyre Warriors 20 drew with Stanthorpe Gremlins 20

Texas Terriers 20 def Inglewood Rosters 18


Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League Men's A grade

Round 7 results

Caloundra Sharks 24 drew with Caboolture Snakes 24

Beerwah Bulldogs 44 def Stanley River Wolves 18

Maroochydore Swans 16 def Kawana Dolphins 0

Noosa Pirates 36 def Nambour Crushers 14


Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League Open Women

Round 9 results

Maroochydore Swans 44 def Caboolture Snakes 16

Kawana Dolphins 56 def Beerwah Bulldogs 0

Caloundra Sharks 28 def Noosa Pirates 16


South Burnett Rugby League Men's A grade

Round 3 results

Cherbourg Hornets 62 def Murgon Mustangs 10

Kingaroy Red Ants 42 def Wondai Wolves 14


Bundaberg Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters Men's A grade

Round 5 results

Past Brothers 42 def Hervey Bay Seagulls 6

Wallaroos 30 def Easts Magpies 6

Waves Tigers 32 def Wests Panthers 24


Wide Bay Open Women

Round 5 results

Wondai Wolves 26 def Bundaberg Bears 6

Fraser Coast Crushers 28 def Cherbourg Hornets 20


Central Burnett Rugby League Titan Industrial Supplies Men's A grade

Round 5 results

Monto Roos 62 def Eidsvold Eagles 34

Gayndah Gladiators 36 def Mundubbera Tigers 16


Updated ladder not available

Central Highlands Rugby League Emerald Industrial Supplies Men's A grade

Round 7 results

Clermont Bears 36 def Springsure Mountain Men 20

Emerald brothers 32 def Dysart Bulls 28

Emerald Tigers 42 def Bluff Rabbitohs 18

Middlemount Panthers 62 def Blackwater Crushers 18


Central Highlands Rugby League Sentinel Group Women's Competition

Round 4 results

Bluff Rabbitohs 16 def Emerald Tigers 10


Central West Rugby League Wellshot Hotel Men's Competition

Round 8 results

Blackall Magpies 34 def Winton Diamantina Devils 10

Barcaldine Sandgoannas 48 def Alpha Brumbies 16


Updated ladder not available

Roma District Rugby League Men's A grade

Round 7 results

Mitchell Magpies 12 def Wallumbilla-Surat Red Bulls 8

Roma Cities 46 def Miles Devils 14

St George 36 def Chinchilla Bulldogs 18


# Team P W D L B +/- Pts
1 Roma Cities 6 5 1 0 201 96 105
2 Mitchell Magpies 6 4 2 0 170 87 83
3 Red Bulls 6 4 2 0 143 74 69
4 St George 6 3 3 0 152 148 83
5 Taroom-Wandoan 6 3 3 0 104 147 -43
6 Miles Devils 6 2 4 0 120 176 -56
7 Chinchilla Bulldogs 6 0 6 0 62 224 -162

Rockhampton Rugby League Men's Premiership

Round 6 results

Brothers Rockhampton 34 def Brothers Gladstone 18

Emu Park Emus 86 def Tannum Sands Seagulls 0

Norths Chargers 54 def Valleys Gladstone 14


Rockhampton Rugby League Intersport Yeppoon Women's Premiership

Round 6 results

Brothers Rockhampton 30 def Gladstone Wallabys 22

Norths Chargers 18 def Gladstone Valleys 16

Emu Park Emus 36 def Tannum Sands Seagulls 0


Northern Districts Rugby League Men's A grade

Round 8 results

South Kolan Sharks 60 def Calliope Roosters 14

Isis Devils 52 def Gin Gin Hawks 0

Gladstone Wallabys 40 def Avondale Tigers 28


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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