iSelect Titans signing from Penrith, James Roberts, made an impressive return to action in Tweed Seagulls’ crushing 42-12 victory over the Central Queensland Capras on the weekend.
The 21-year-old, who has scored 11 tries in his 16 NRL appearances for Souths and Penrith, fractured his leg in a Panthers trial match in February. He has trained hard in recent weeks and his leg was certainly tested when he pushed out of a tackle and ran 80 metres to score in the first half.
“I was blowing a bit after that,” he laughed. “But I was happy with how I got through the game and the leg felt good; it was good to be back on the field.”
Roberts played wing, centre and fullback in the Seagulls’ third straight victory that has them just outside the top five. Fellow Titans three-quarter Maurice Blair also returned from injury (hand) off the bench for the Gulls. Fellow Titans contracted players Ryan James (starting in the second row), Caleb Binge (second row), Jamal Fogarty (fullback), Sam Irwin (five-eighth) and Ben Ridge (bench) also played well in a good all-round performance.
The Capras led 8-0 after tries to Hughie Stanley and Theeran Pearson in the first 12 minutes but it was all one way traffic after that as the Seagulls who led 14-8 at the break and posted 42 unanswered points until the Capras scored a consolation late try.
Seagulls back-rower Cory Blair started the spree and it did not abate from a team playing with confidence despite Beau Henry, Cody Nelson and Kalifa Faifai Loa being called up to the Titans’ NRL side. The replacements were more than handy in Blair and Roberts in the backs and James in the pack.
The Capras muscled up early in the second half, but some more magic from Roberts sparked a try to Michael Burgess for a 26-8 lead.
Tweed never looked back, going on to record win number six for the season. Aaron Zimmerle’s team sits in sixth spot, just one competition point behind the PNG Hunters, heading into next weekend’s game against Souths Logan.
The Burleigh Bears fought hard against the competition leaders Northern Pride before going down 26-10 in Cairns.
The Bears led 10-8 at half-time in wet conditions at The Jungle, after trailing by 8-0 after 19 minutes. However, with both sides making handling errors, it was the Bears who soon struck back with a try from Titans centre Brad Tighe (returning from a shoulder injury) in the left corner.
And on 35 minutes Burleigh, under returning head coach Jim Lenihan, took the lead, with winger Zac Mackay converting his own try to head into the sheds 10-8 ahead.
Pride came out with much more purpose in the second half and were rewarded just after the hour mark as Javid Bowen finished off a fine offload by Cowboys player Joel Riethmuller. Tries followed to co-captain Jason Roos and Hezron Murgha followed.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 42 (Michael Burgess 2, Cory Blair 2, Jamal Fogarty, James Roberts, Tom Merritt, Caleb Binge tries; Michael Burgess 4, Blake Anderson goals) def CQ CAPRAS 12 (Hughie Stanley, Marlon Doak, Theeran Pearson tries) at Browne Park.
NORTHERN PRIDE 26 (Hezron Murgha, Javid Bowen, Blake Leary, Jason Roos tries; Shaun Nona 5 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 10 (Brad Tighe, Zac Mackay tries; Zac Mackay goal) at Barlow Park