Halfback Beau Henry was the stand-out performer among the 11 contracted iSelect Titans players who went head to head in the Intrust Super Cup (Queensland Cup) Rivalry Round match-up between Tweed Seagulls and Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park yesterday.
Henry, who has gradually regained confidence after recovering from a knee reconstruction, was the dominant attacking player for the Seagulls in the 28-0 victory that ended the Bears’ four-match winning streak. His goal-kicking was a little astray, being successful with only two conversions of their six tries (most near the touch line), but he was the chief organiser of his side’s dominant display, scoring a try and having a hand in three others, with Sam Irwin playing a solid link role outside of him.
Lock Tom Kingston was also dangerous with the ball and physical in attack and Cody Nelson strong on the right edge. Jamal Fogarty returned the ball well and hooker Matt Srama continued with his solid return from a shoulder injury during his period off the bench. The Bears, who appeared flat after the bruising clash with the PNG Hunters the previous weekend, had few standout players although five-eighth Matt Beddow worked hard to spark his side.
After starting the season slowly, the Seagulls have won four of their last six matches and coach Aaron Zimmerle said a trip to PNG in round seven may have been the catalyst for the spark.
“You go away on a trip like that and the boys spend a lot of time together,” he said. “It’s really tough to win over there because it’s not just the football, it’s everything else that goes into it as well and we seem to have come back with a little bit more of a steely determination from that trip. I think that showed last week against East and it was definitely on display today.”
The Seagulls opened the scoring in the 12th minute through winger Tom Merritt, the first of his three tries.
Five minutes later Blake Anderson powered over in the corner while some brilliant hands in the lead up gave Merritt his second try on the stroke of half-time for a 16-0 lead.
The Bears put up some resistance early in the second half, but a try to Kalifa Faifai Loa in the 61st minute put any miracle comeback hopes to bed.
A third try to Merritt, this time a length of the field run after catching a bomb near his own line, and a 70th minute try to Henry completed the shut-out.
Zimmerle commended the work of Henry and Irwin who was hit hard by Burleigh defenders on a number of occasions.
Back-rowers Kingston and Cory Blair also won praise from their coach for their work on the edges, as did Srama.
“They sent a lot at him today and he was tackling like the Matty Srama of old,” Zimerle said.
“He was picking the big front-rowers up and dumping them on their backs. That’s just a sign that he is feeling good about his shoulder and that’s a big challenge.
“For a little guy that will get spotted in defence, you need to know that you can physically commit to a tackle 100% because they’re expecting to come out the other side of you.”
For the Bears it was their first loss on home soil this season.
Briggs admitted his side was below par and that perhaps last week’s emotional Anzac Day win over the Hunters took its toll.
“I’m not papering over any cracks, but to me the scheduling needs to be looked at,” Briggs said.
“You play rivalry round the week after you play PNG, when for the nine rounds so far whoever plays PNG gets a weekend off the week after.
“I’m not trying to move the blame anywhere else, there are certain things today from us like one-on-one misses that are unacceptable, but at the end of the day I’ve got a busted load of blokes in there that were flat today and there are reasons behind that.”
The Bears have the bye next weekend while Tweed is at home to the Northern Pride.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 28 (Tom Merritt 3, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Blake Anderson, Beau Henry tries; Beau Henry 2 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 0 at Pizzey Park.
Burleigh Bears: 1. Henare Wells 2. Steve Michaels 3. Jamie Anderson 4. Khan Ahwang 5. Zac Mackay 6. Matt Beddow 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Luke Page 9. Matt Keating 10. Mark Ioane 11. Jesse Malcolm 12. Kyle McConnell 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Nafe Seluini 15. Siuatonga Likiliki 16. Chris Kitching 17. Matt Bell
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Jamal Fogarty 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa 3. Luke Dumas 4. Blake Anderson 5. Tom Merritt 6. Sam Irwin 7. Beau Henry 8. Damian Sironen 9. Matt King (c) 10. Pele Peletelese 11. Cody Nelson 12. Cory Blair 13. Tom Kingston 14. Matt Srama 15. Sam Saville 16. Chris Piper 17. Reg Saunders