Neil Cadigan

The Ben Campbell Building Group Seagulls have lost a third game in succession by four points or less and taking third-placed Wynnum Manly down to the wire, losing 20-16 at Kougari Oval on Sunday.

Without key players Talor Walters, Treymain Spry and Christian Hazard, the two Seagulls outfits scored three tries each but the result came down to a couple of crucial Tweed errors defending kicks and goals.

Tweed fought back from 20-6 down 12 minutes into the second half and almost snatched a confidence-boosting victory late in the game. However, it was an overall effort coach Ben Woolf was pleased with going into this Sunday’s local derby against second-placed Burleigh Bears.

“It was another strong performance without getting the result,” Woolf lamented.

“Some real positives came out of the game but we just didn’t quite get there.

“A couple of errors on kicks proved costly and in the end we were beaten by goals after scoring three tries each.

“We knew the past month was going to be tough with matches against the top three teams and PNG away. It’s frustrating to play well but not get the points but the positive is that we improved in the areas we wanted to concentrate on and it’s just been some mistakes that have cost us.

“We wanted to get our defensive line speed and aggression back to how it was earlier in the season and I felt we did that and we kicked really well, creating quite a few repeat sets.

“We need to lift further against Burleigh next Sunday and hopefully build some confidence and consistency going into the finals.”

Matthews was outstanding for the Seagulls and he will be a real asset in the back end of the season if he doesn’t get called into the Titans side. Skipper John Palavi was tremendous as usual with his faultless defence and high work rate and Cook, who started at hooker in place of the injured Hazard, showed signs of the team-lifting form he displayed in the first couple of months of the season.

Wynnum took only three minutes to score, on the back of a repeat set from a Will Matthews charge down, to lead 6-0 after four minutes.

A converted Luke Jurd try, with Matthews the instigator with a good  took pass, took the score to 6-all after 12 minutes and the clash settled into a physical arm-wrestle until the only other first-half try was posted by Wynnum five-eighth Pat Templeton in the 28th minute.

Templeton put up a swirling bomb which Tweed winger Tevita Folau had trouble handling. Folau fumbled and Templeton swooped on the loose ball. Templeton’s conversion and a 34th minute penalty goal made the half-time score 14-6.

Wynnum Manly went further ahead with a second crucial Tweed error on a kick. A short Wynnum kick took a deflection and Tweed fullback John Macklin tried to bat the ball dead-in-goal but missed it and Jordan Drew forced the ball in-goal with his torso. Templeton’s conversion took Wynnum’s lead to 20-6 after 52 minutes but the Tweed Seagulls refused to surrender.

After some good kicking gave Tweed for repeat sets in a short period, a smart shift of the ball to the left saw Ryland Jacobs score in the left corner to bring the score back to 20-10 with 18 minutes remaining.

The momentum continued and hooker Jack Cook crossed in the 67th minute – after a 40-20 from Lindon McGrady put Tweed deep into Wynnum’s territory – and the game was certainly in the balance at 20-16.

Tweed had most of possession and run of play in the final 10 minutes but desperate Wynnum defence held them out.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Wynnum Manly 20 (Drew 2, Templeton tries; Templeton 4 goals) def. Tweed Heads 16 (Jacobs, Jurd, Cook tries; McGrady 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.