The Ben Campbell Building Group Seagulls certainly turned their form around in Townsville on Saturday with their best performance for a month, however flew home with a narrow loss, 24-22, after paying dearly for a five-minute lapse just after half-time.
The Seagulls led 16-6 at half-time after posting three tries and having the better of the fist 40 minutes. But the Blackhawks posted two tries in the first four minutes of the break, on the back of a late tackle penalty and a second-phase offload near halfway, that gave them the momentum to snatch two tries and lead 18-16.
They were never headed again.
However, there was much to like about Tweed’s performance, none greater than the return from injury of half Luke Jurd who had the final touches on all three first-half tries and won the players’ player award in his first game for seven weeks because of a hamstring injury.
And the forwards worked has to overcome the loss of skipper Cheyne Whitelaw who tragically suffered his second season-ending knee injury the previous round.
“We were really good for most of the game; it was our best performance for a long while,” said coach Ben Woolf. “It’s just disappointing we didn’t get the points as a reward.
“It was just that five-minute period after halftime that proved the difference. Outside of that we played well, we completed well and defended well.
“Jurdy was great. He hadn’t played for long while but we had to throw him straight back in and he got the players’ player award ahead of John Palavi (pictured) who was strong again.
“We’ve got a tough couple of weeks ahead against Wynnum and Burleigh but that effort would have been a confidence boost.”
Leilani Latu gave the Seagulls the perfect pass when he crossed in the third minute. Jurd dummied inside and then fed Latu on the outside and he was too strong from 10 metres.
Former Titans and Seagulls winger Kalifa Faifai Loa crossed 10 minutes later for the Blackhawks from a big shift to the left.
Right winger Ioane Seiuli gave the Gulls their second try when he latched onto a Jurd cross-field bomb near the line to give Tweed a 10-4 lead.
Jurd had a hand in a try for the third time when he through an in-ball to teenager Juwon Compain who crossed under the posts from close range with Lindon McGrady’s conversion making it 16-6 after 30 minutes.
But the Blackhawks had all the momentum early in the second half, crossing for two tries in the first four minutes to snatch the lead 18-16.
A Townsville try from a Crossfield bomb to the right in the 56th minute gave the Blackhawks an eight-point lead. Kirk Murphy crossed on the short side from a smart dummy-half pass from Christian Hazard with 13 minutes remaining to reduce the lead to two points, but – as valiantly as they tried – the Seagulls could not find the winning try and went down by two points.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 24 (Kalifa Faifai-Loa, Krys Freeman, Jaelen Feeney, Nathan Traill tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) def TWEED SEAGULLS 22 (Leilani Latu, Ioane Seiuli, Juwon Compain, Kody Parsons tries; Lindon McGrady 3 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.