The Ben Campbell Building Group Seagulls were made to pay for too many mistakes during a 26-6 loss to reigning premiers Redcliffe Dolphins at Dolphin Park on Sunday.
Tweed never mounted any sustained pressure on the Redcliffe defence as they gave the Dolphins, who had won only one of their first six games, early possession and confidence – and never recovered.
The Seagulls’ plight was not helped by losing inspirational high-workrate skipper Cheyne Whitelaw after just nine minutes and energetic bench forward Rory Lillis (ribs) three minutes into the second half (after an earlier HIA departure), leaving them with just two interchange forwards.
Early errors set the tone of the match.
After a kick out on the full by Christian Hazard, a penalty conceded for a high shot by Jack Cook, a drop ball on the second tackle by Lindon McGrady and a penalty for holding on by Lamar Liolevave, Tweed had only had the ball for five tackles when Redcliffe posted their first points after four and a half minutes through hooker Jake Turpin who squeezed over from dummy half.
And their start to the game didn’t improve when Whitelaw was forced out of the match after nine minutes after a head clash with Dolphins winger Izaia Perese.
A penalty goal by Bryce Donovan after a strip by Cook took the score out to 8-0 after 13 minutes.
The Dolphins continued to dominate possession and this saw them score their second try in the 24th minute through winger Jedidiah Simbiken after a shift to the right.
Typical of the Seagulls’ clunky attacking performance, Hazard was upended in a tackle and threw a desperate pass nowhere then another error with the ball, this time on the second tackle when Liolevave coughed it up while rising to play it. Soon after Redcliffe halfback Cory Paix shrug off a couple of tacklers from the scrum and cross under the post two minutes before the break.
Donovan’s conversion made it 18-0 to Redcliffe at half-time. While he conceded four penalties in a short space of time, hooker Cook’s first-half effort was admirable – making 31 tackles.
Ten minutes into the second half Jarrod Morfett put the Seagulls into the match when he pounced on the rebound from the chest of Redcliffe winger Jeremy Hawkins who was trying to take a Jacks’ bomb. Lindon McGrady’s easy conversion made the score 18-6, but that was the only joy the Seagulls were to have.
A high tackle by Morfett saw Redcliffe earn a penalty and head out to a 14-point lead at 20-6 and yet another unforced error – McGrady sending the ball out on the full from the kick-off – put the Gulls under pressure again.
Two possession later Redcliffe posted their last points. Ethan Roberts knocked down a pass by Nick Brown while attempting an intercept and Dolphins halfback Paix scooped up the ball and race away, drawing McGrady and giving Taylor Brown a free run to under the posts.
Tweed completed only 23 or 34 sets of possession which saw them make 387 tackles to Redcliffe’s 260 and that was a good indication of what went wrong in the game.
Cook was certainly tireless, Talor Walters was again energetic and involved on the right wing, Ryland Jacobs willing on the other flank and Liolevave made good ground with the ball. However, this was a game where the Seagulls were generally their own worst enemies and their attack did not click, ensuring they never put themselves into the match.
They head home hoping to make amends against Ipswich next Sunday before taking on Norths at Piggabeen a week later, two crucial games for Ben Woolf’s side who have dropped to seventh position.
Redcliffe Dolphins 26 (Turpin, Simbiken, Paix, Brown tries; Donovan 5 goals) def. Tweed Heads Seagulls 6 (Morfett try; McGrady goal) at Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe.