The Ben Campbell Building Group Seagulls broke their five-match losing run with an important Country Week victory in Ilfracombe, beating the Central Queensland Capras 28-12.
The Gulls had to withstand three changes to their normal ‘spine’ the loss of two players from their selected travelling 18 with sickness, which reduced them to a 16-man team.
Titans hooker Mitch Rein took ill the night before the match at the team’s Longreach hotel and despite medication was not right to play, although he sat on the bench in case injury forced him to fill in some minutes.
Queensland under-18s representative Juwan Compain was set to travel with the team as 18th man, but he also went down with a virus hours before departure for Brisbane on Thursday afternoon and it was decided at the 11th hour for him to stay behind.
Ben Woolf’s side suffered no injuries during the match and were able to cope with 16 players without bother.
While it took 35 minutes for the Gulls to score their first try and they were behind 8-6 at half-time, Woolf was pleased with the effort and there were several positive ‘firsts’ from the game.
His son Brent, 22, a former Broncos-contracted player who last season played 17 games with the Blackhawks, started at hooker in the absence of Christian Hazard with Jack Cook, the starting lock, playing some time at hooker. Woolf had had two games at Currumbin after returning from an ACL injury.
Titans halfback Ash Taylor, in his first match for six weeks, showed some positive signs and scored the team’s first try with his familiar show-and-go.
And Kody Parson, a regular centre, was outstanding in his first game in the second row, pulling off a couple of big hits and winning the players’ players award.
“I thought we were pretty dominant whole game but we had a couple of lapses in defence which let them in for tries and but with two new players in the spine we were a bit clunky in the first half,” Woolf said.
“Once we got in front we controlled the footy I felt we’d get over them but we could have been a bit ruthless once got ahead.
“We had a lot of new guys in new positions, with Ioane Seiuli coming off the bench in the back row and Kody Parson starting in the second row, Brent at hooker and Ash at half playing with the team for the first time.
“Kody was great with his physicality; he bent them back a couple of times with his tackles, and Ioane picked up two tries, so that was really pleasing.
“Ash Taylor obviously wasn’t going to be where he’d normally be with some footy under his belt but he was great the way he fitted in and scored one try and almost got another but was held up and stripped over the line. It was great to see him enjoying playing and contributing around the boys.”
The Seagulls scored five tries to three. Seiuli crossed for a double. His first was a barge over from close range and his other a good team try after Lindon McGrady, who played fullback found space for Talor Walters, who shifted to the wing, in the middle of the field and Seiuli backing up.
McGrady created Walters’ try too with a terrific offload to Luke Jurd whose catch-and-pass gave Walters room to slip between defenders and score. The other try was a barge-over by prop Jarrod Morfett from close range.
Tweed Heads Seagulls 28 (I Seiuli 2, A Taylor, J Morfett, T Walter tries; McGrady 3, Taylor goals) def. CQ Capras 12 (BJ Aufaga-Toomaga 2, R Sisifa tries)