Local rugby league fans have the chance to see some of the best state level, and NRL players, on show at Piggabeen Sports Complex this Sunday when the Ben Campbell Building Group Tweed Heads Seagulls face the biggest test of their impressive season.
The fourth-placed Seagulls take on unbeaten leaders after 12 rounds, the Sunshine Coast Falcons, in what is inarguably their toughest task so far in 2019. Between them, the two sides have won 17 games straight.
The Falcons, who boast young guns from Melbourne Storm in halfback Cooper Johns (son of Kangaroos player Matthew), hooker Harry Grant and back-rower Tino Faasuamaleaui, knocked over third placed Burleigh Bears last Sunday by 32-16 and have a points differential of 478 to 146.
“It’s our toughest test, without question,” said Seagulls coach Ben Woolf.
“The Falcons just stick at it for 80 minutes; they give you nothing and a well-organised team with plenty of talent.
“We’ve gained confidence from five straight wins but we know we have to play a lot better than we did last Sunday (a 42-8 win against Souths Logan) to be in the contest.”
The Seagulls have plenty of NRL experience in their team in Titans-contracted front-rowers Leilani Latu and Max King plus halfback Ryley Jacks even though they will be missing second-rower Will Matthews, who has been impressive in the past two rounds.
Tweed’s Talor Walters has been close to the in-form fullback in the Intrust Super Cup, five-eighth Lindon McGrady has been in fine form and stands fourth on the ISC points-scoring lists with 90, while young centres Treymain Spry, a 19-year-old in the Titans full-tine squad, and Ioane Seiuli, have hit their straps.
But it is the Tweed pack that has been the cornerstone of their good form, with Latu, former Norths Brisbane skipper John Palavi, skipper Cheyne Whitelaw, tackle-machine Kirk Murphy, hooker Christian Hazard and bench utility Jack Cook (pictured) consistent high performers in the first 12 rounds.
The match kicks off at 2pm, preceded by a crucial Hastings Deering Colts clash between the Seagulls (7th) and Falcons (5th) at 12.30pm.