Neil Cadigan

The Ben Campbell Building Group Tweed Head Seagulls had a much-needed boost to their for-and-against average and retained fourth position on the ladder with their 42-8 win against Souths Logan Magpies.

It was their fifth straight victory, and biggest winning margin of 2019, yet coach Ben Woolf felt that – in many areas of the game – his team was not as impressive as they had been in the previous month.

Going into next Sunday’s biggest test of their progress, against ruthless unbeaten leaders Sunshine Coast, Woolf knows the small but important aspects of attack especially must improve, but the confidence and points-differential impetus was certainly valuable from the big win.

Tweed’s plus-24 differential was 31 points behind the next team in the top six – Norths Devils who had a 36-point victory over the Capras – and were well behind the Falcons, Bears, Wynnum Manly and Blackhawks, so the 34-point adjustment could come in handy. As does the four-point margin on seventh-placed Townsville.

“It was good to score some points but we have a bit of work to do, to be honest, coming into a tough run ahead of us – against Sunshine Coast, PNG away and then Townsville, Wynnum Many and Burleigh,” Woolf said. “We have to be better than we were today to beat those sort of teams.

“The pleasing things though were that we carried the ball strongly and got out of our own end easily and if we can convert that into a good kick and good kick-chase and put teams under pressure, I think we can get to where we want to be.

“It was good to score some tries too from set plays which came off the good go-forward we generated.”

Fullback Talor Walters was again brilliant from the back, often breaking several tackles when returning the ball and it was a 50-metre burst after fielding a kick that led to a second-half  try.

In his 50th Intrust Super Cup game, five-eighth Lindon McGrady impressed again while Titans props Max King and Leilani Latu were aggressive and hungry for work.

One downside from the victory was the loss of another Titan, the experienced and clever Will Matthews, with a rib cartilage injury but the Gulls have good depth in the pack with Bayley Faull, Rory Lillis, Jarrod Morfett and Shane Gillham in the wings.

The Seagulls led 16-8 at half-time after running out to a 10-0 lead after just nine minutes. The Magpies, off the back of a glut of possession in Tweed’s half, scored the next two tries before the Gulls recovered with a neat try to Matthews just before the break after Jack Cook searched for space from dummy half.

Five-eighth McGrady had been prominent early, scoring the first try in just the fourth minute and playing a hand in the second only six minutes later scored by second-rower Kalani Going.

Tweed outscored their opponents, who were disappointing considering how much talent they fielded, 26-0 in the second half – with their defensive intent obvious from the first tackle in which Lamar Liolevave forced the ball loose in a bell-ringer.

Debutant right winger Lee Turner, a former NZ Warriors under-20s player, picked up a Ryley Jacks grubber that rebounded from a Magpies boot in the ensuing set to start  the second-half scoring.

Tries followed to right centre Ioane Seiuli, who was a strong performer for the Gulls, left winger Ryland Jacobs who picked up a double, the first from a shift to the left after Walters’ 50m kick-return and the other when he had much to do after doubling back then beating two defenders at the try-line.

Lock Cheyne Whitelaw picked up just his first try for the Seagulls from 17 appearances four minutes from the end.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Tweed Heads Seagulls 42 (R Jacobs 2, L McGrady, K Going, W Matthews, I Seiuli, C Whitelaw tries; McGrady 5 goals) def. Souths Logan 8 (G Hamilton, M Soper-Lawler tries) at Piggabeen Sports Complex.