Tweed Seagulls beat Northern Pride 30-14 at Vico Oval this afternoon, despite Pride surging late.
From the outset it appeared Pride would struggle to contain their visitors; while the first 25 minutes were fairly evenly contested, Tweed clearly had the better of the running.
They spent plenty of time attacking within Pride’s 20-metre zone and, while Pride defended stoutly, it felt like they were only delaying the inevitable.
The inevitable came in the 27th minute when Tweed halfback Ryley Jacks delivered a pass onto the chest of his fullback Talor Walters who quick stepped his way through a seemingly mesmerised Pride defensive line to score to the left of the post.
Five-eighth Lindon McGrady slotted the conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead – a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the day.
With the first try scored, Tweed seemed to have found their rhythm and took their game up a level with players finding holes in attack, passes sticking and everything happening at speed. It was this pressure that delivered their next scoring opportunity.
A struggling Pride defence were penalised for being offside and McGrady stepped forward to calmly take the two points and extend the lead to 8-0.
A controversial moment came late in the first half when speedy Pride hooker Connor Jones made a clean break and was steaming down field in clean air; only for his centre Javid Bowen to be penalised in back play for holding back a Tweed defender.
It would prove to be a costly 12-point turn around; not only did the Pride not score, but two plays later big Tweed winger Xavier Coates was on the end of a well executed backline play to score in the corner and take the halftime score to 12-0.
Tweed opened the second half as they had finished the first, on attack and pressurising Pride.
The home side were again penalised in defence and this time Jacks took full advantage; he took the ball at first receiver and strolled 30 metres down field, running a nice inside out line to score to the right of the posts.
McGrady landed another one of his five kicks on the day to take the lead to 18-0.
Jacks was at it again in the next try, turning provider.
Jacks hoisted a perfect kick at the end of a well executed set; for some reason Pride defenders did not contest the kick and a Tweed chaser was able to gather it on the full and pass it to Coates to score his second try, which McGrady converted to extend Tweed’s lead to 24-0.
From here, the story takes a disappointing turn – at least for Tweed, who invited the Pride back into the game with a succession of errors and penalties.
Referee Tim Rutherford warned the Tweed skipper about the volume of penalties, however, Lamar Liolevave did not get the memo and when he held on to a leg too long in a tackle, he was sin-binned.
Pride seemed to be devoid of ideas; plays were not being executed with any conviction.
In the end it was backrower Ewan Moore who finally got them on the board in the 67th minute when he barged over. The kick was waved away, leaving the score at 24-0.
They were the next to score when Jack Campagnolo, wearing No.7, but starting off the bench, took the ball in two hands and ran straight at the defence.
This time it was the Tweed defences’ turn to be mesmerised; they watched and watched and in the end watched him deliver the last pass to David Hola to rumble over.
Jake Clifford landed the conversion and at 24-10, Pride had some momentum, all be it against an 12-man opposition.
Clifford benefited from the back peddling Tweed defence a few minutes later, this time they watched Javid Bowen dance and weave and when he finally off loaded, Clifford was there to receive the pass on the cut back and score.
Fittingly Tweed would have the final say though, with Walters capping off a fine all round game, scooping up the ball from dummy half and dashing over. McGrady landed the conversion after the full-time siren to round out the score at 30-14.
Tweed’s best on field were Will Matthews, Jacks and captain Cheyne Whitelaw.
While for the Pride, Jack Murphy, Enari Tuala and Hola all played well.
Both teams will be looking for an improved performance next weekend.
Pride face Easts Tigers at Langlands Park in Round 12.
Tweed will host Souths Logan Magpies.