Several of the iSelect Titans NRL squad members impressed as Tweed Heads Seagulls and Burleigh Bears had a double-victory weekend in the Queensland Intrust Cup.
The Burleigh Bears stormed home in the second half to win 36-28 against Ipswich Jets at Pizzey Park on Sunday after trailing 24-12 at the break, while the Seagulls beat South Logan Magpies 32-14 at Davies Park.
Five-eighth Beau Henry made a competent return from a knee reconstruction for the Seagulls, scoring a try and four goals, while Titans training partners Maurice Blair and Ben Ridge were also among the try-scorers. Blair was dropped from the Titans side to make way for Brad Takairangi but showed the right attitude and performed well.
Steve Michaels scored a good try and had another disallowed in a busy performance for the Bears while Siuatonga Likiliki was also on the try-scorers’ list.
“It was two different teams today,” Burleigh coach Carl Briggs said of his side. “The second half we showed what we’re capable of doing when we stick to a game plan and defend with pride. At half-time I was pretty scathing but that second half, I couldn’t be prouder of them to be honest.”
Burleigh started the game strongly with tries to former Eel Matt Keating and Steve Michaels inside the first 20 minutes giving them a 12-0 lead. However they soon lost their way and Ipswich gained the ascendancy.
Staring down the barrel of a third straight loss the Bears needed to react and they did so through Likiliki shortly after the break. Michaels was denied a second try due to obstruction four minutes later, but in the 61st Khan Ahwang ran 45 metres to score a brilliant solo try and level the scores.
Three minutes later five-eighth Tyler Chadburn set up another great try by chipping ahead and regathering before finding Ahwang in support.
The Bears led by only two points however before Michaels tapped back a grubber from beyond the dead-ball line and Henare Wells latched onto it to score the match-sealing try.
Ahwang has had a huge impact since joining Burleigh this season. The competition’s leading point-scorer coming into the game, he added another 20 points to his tally with two tries and six goals. “He’s got that X-factor about him. He was outstanding today,” Briggs said.
Prop Luke Page was man of the match while Louis Fanene again produced a quality 80 minute display. Young playmaker Tyler Chadburn also played well.
The Seagulls posted their first win of the season over an understrength Magpies, scoring six tries to three. They were the first to score when late inclusion Ridge, who played for the Titans against Wests Tigers the weekend before, crashed over, and they were in again soon after thanks to Henry, who was making his return from a long injury layoff.
Blair extended the visitors' lead before half-time, giving them a 16-0 advantage. Blair was impressive in his outing, adding a try-saving tackle to his four-pointer. The Magpies narrowed the margin to 22-14 before the Seagulls were able to put the result beyond doubt when halfback Michael Burgess touched down following some good footwork at the line, before Tom Merritt added the icing with another before full-time.
BURLEIGH BEARS 36 (Khan Ahwang 2, Henare Wells, Siuatonga Likiliki, Steve Michaels, Matt Keating tries; Khan Ahwang 6 goals) d. IPSWICH JETS 28 (Nemani Valekapa, Tautalatasi Tasi, Sam Martin, Troy O’Sullivan, Matt Parcell tries; Haydan Lipp 4 goals) at Pizzey Park
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 32 (Tom Merritt, Beau Henry, Michael Burgess, Ben Ridge, Ricardo Parata, Maurice Blair tries; Beau Henry 4 goals) d. SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 14 (David Faamita, Andrew Edwards, Kurt Baptiste tries; Luke Archer goal) at Davies Park