Tayla Whalley, QRL media
It’s been a tough few weeks of competition to get to this point – but this weekend will see Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Tweed Seagulls go head-to-head in the grand final of the under-18 Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup competition.
When Wynnum Manly and Tweed met earlier this season in Round 5, Wynnum Manly proved to be the stronger of the Seagulls on the day, winning 20-16.
Both teams played exceptionally well in Finals Week 1 last weekend with both coaches proud of their on-field performance of their players.
Tweed Seagulls coach Tim McCann commended his team on their impressive performance against Magpies.
“Last week’s match was very competitive and high quality with very few errors,” McCann said.
“We made the most of the opportunities and supported each other, which paid off scoring three tries back to back and having possession of the ball for 6 minutes at one point of the match.
“In the second half, we came out really well as a team with Reece Walsh having the best game he has played to date and Juwan Compain also being a stand out for our squad.
“This week we will be looking at applying pressure and focusing on our game.”
Wynnum Manly coach Jody Barlow was pleased with his team’s performance against the Falcons that secured a spot in the final and was also happy with how his team has not only learnt but grown over the season.
“The first half was exceptional, and the boys closed the game out,” Barlow said.
“Our completion rate was over the 90 per cent and our ball control was good.
“Defensively, this is what will win the game on the weekend, so we have been focusing on our defensive shape and patterns and all the players knowing their roles and working on executing them to the best of their ability.
“From day one, I knew Tweed would be up there in the top four as they are very gifted across the park and have some fire power which will keep us on our toes.”
This Sunday’s match will be a big day for both clubs with it being the first time an under-18 Wynnum Manly squad has been in the finals and the first time Tweed has been in a state final as a senior club since 2011.
“For a lot of the guys, this is their second year with me and are excited for a high quality this weekend,” Barlow said.
“We had a pretty tough year last year; things didn’t go our way and we didn’t quite have the quality of play we do this year, so it will be really rewarding for the team and staff, who have helped put the guys on the paddock.
“The club is really excited about the prospects of our playing group moving forward to Colts and even higher.”