The season of Tweed Heads Seagulls, the iSelect Titans feeder club, has ended with a loss to fifth-placed Ipswich Jets 28-10 in their elimination final at Piggabeen on Sunday.
In cold, windy and wet conditions, Ipswich muscled up in defence to end a run of 13 consecutive defeats against the Tweed south of the border. The Seagulls' hopes virtually evaporated when they conceded three tries in three minutes either side of half-time to go from 4-all to 20-4 behind.
They fielded just two Titans players because of the NRL squad's critical injury list - Jamal Fogarty and Sam Irwin.
The Jets were called on to defend their own line set after set in the final 30 minutes and they kept coming up with the big defensive play as the Seagulls threw everything at them in front of a parochial home crowd.
The game became a real finals hit out with both teams settling into their play and exchanging sets until some poor marker defence and a break by James Wood saw Titans-contracted player Jamal Fogarty score for Tweed.
At 4-all after 26 minutes the game settled down again until the Ipswich iron man Rod Griffin scored his second try this year, running a straight and hard line on the left. That gave the Jets a 10-4 lead going into half time.
A few punters at Tweed would have been forgiven for thinking that with one minute until the break a chance to go get a drink and stretch your legs was the smart option.
But Liam Capewell scored in the left hand corner. Marmin Barba missed the conversion but the Jets took a 14-4 lead to the dressing sheds after scoring two tries in two minutes.
The second half started for the Jets with a Marmin Barba special. Wes Conlon made the break and found Barba on the inside to score his 21st try this year and go within one try of equalling the club record 22. Barba converted and after 42 minutes the Jets were up 20-4.
The Jets had scored three tries in three minutes but now it was time to showcase their defence and for the next 25 minutes the Jets repelled anything the Seagulls threw at them.
Almost at a physical standstill and with players begging not to do anymore defence the Ipswich Jets’ Wes Conlon executed a one on one steal and ran 70 meters to score and take the Jets to 26-4 with 13 minutes to go.
Tweed’s Ricardo Parata finished a slick backline movement towards the right hand corner and gave the Seagulls a faint hope at 26-10 with six minutes to go.
Tweed finished the match with 12 men after King was sent from the field by referee Clayton Sharpe for an alleged head butt in his last game before retiring.
The send-off followed a spiteful incident in which Tweed’s James Wood was placed on report for a high tackle on Josh Cleeland.
IPSWICH JETS 28 (Marmin Barba, Kurt Capewell, Rod Griffin, Liam Capewell, Wes Conlon tries; Marmin Barba 3, Kurtis Lingwoodock goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 10 (Ricardo Parata, Jamal Fogarty tries; Blake Anderson goal) at Piggabeen Sports.