Gold Coast Titans playmaker Jamal Fogarty has suffered an untimely injury, going down with an ankle complaint in the first five minutes of Tweed Heads’ gripping draw with Easts on Sunday.
With injuries to NRL regulars Kane Elgey and Kierran Moseley, Fogarty was in strong contention to challenge for a first grade debut against the Warriors this week, but in a horrible case of bad luck the young utility was unable to complete the game for the Seagulls and will be out for several weeks. Fogarty’s injury comes after putting together a month of impressive football for the Titans feeder side.
In what was an emotional clash following the passing of Tigers playmaker Grant Giess, Tweed Heads coach Aaron Zimmerle said it was important for the rugby league community to come together.
“We wanted to pay our respects,” Zimmerle told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “We have been fortunate in our club that we have never had to deal with a tragedy in the time I have been here but it could happen any day to any person. The biggest thing you want to see is the rugby league community band together.
“It’s bigger and beyond the game of rugby league and that’s why we play, you play for your mates.”
Despite losing the in-form Fogarty in the first five minutes, the Seagulls started well against last year’s grand finalists, crossing the line four times in the first half to take a 20-4 lead into half-time. The Tigers were their own worst enemy in the opening 40 minutes, with poor ball security costing them a 16-point lead at the break.
Roles were reversed in the second half as the Tigers came out a different side. Easts scored two tries in quick succession to cut the lead to just four points, before a cross-field bomb to the in-form Matt Duffie drew scores level at 20-all to set up an exciting finish.
After Barnes crossed with 10 minutes to go, the home side looked set for victory, but Eddie Tautali had other ideas with a stunning try to even scores and give the Tigers a chance of victory, but Doug Malone was unable to convert leaving scores tied at 24-all.
The injury to Fogarty has him join Davin Crampton (ACL) and Jai Ingram (ankle) as Titans players to have been injured whilst in good form for the Seagulls. In some positive news for the Titans, forward Caleb Binge made an impressive return from injury for Tweed, playing the full 80 minutes in his first game since round 26 in the NRL last season.
The Burleigh Bears have kept their finals hopes alive with a 19-12 win over Norths Devils at Pizzey Park.
Wearing pink jerseys to fundraise for cancer care and research, the Bears fought their way to an important win over the Devils.
“We certainly didn’t play our best by any stretch of the imagination, but I will take an ugly win over a good loss any day,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said.
“If we can play bad and still tick over a win, well that’s okay. It’s worse if we don’t win those sorts of games and kick ourselves later. We finished out the game well; we got to the end and got the win.
“We looked a little unorganised and there are certainly things we can work on, but we’re keeping ourselves in touch with the competition and we look forward to next week.”
With Titans forward Mark Ioane recalled to NRL duty, Bears prop Josh Ailaomai stood up for the home side in a dominant performance.
“Josh Ailaomai was outstanding for us. He’s a step above the rest of us at the moment,” Lenihan said.
“When we don’t have Mark Ioane, Josh Ailaomai is our go-to guy in the middle. He’s eye-catching when he runs and he gets us going and inspires the rest of the boys to do better.
“If we can do a little bit better and go with him, he’s certainly not letting us down at the moment, that’s for sure.”
Despite not scoring for the first 30 minutes of the match, Burleigh played with more freedom once they finally crossed the line, scoring twice before half-time to give them a six-point lead at the break.
The Bears crossed in the 52nd minute through Ryley Jacks, but Norths hit back almost immediately to make for a tense final 20 minutes.
Although finishing with just two players on the bench, the Devils tried hard, but couldn’t overcome a defiant Burleigh outfit. Jacks topped off a fine game with a field goal sealing the game with seven minutes to go.
Round 15 sees the Bears travel to Wynnum Manly on Sunday 1.40pm to take on the Seagulls at BMD Kougari Oval, while Tweed Heads host the PNG Hunters at Piggabeen Sports at 3pm on Sunday.
BURLEIGH BEARS 19 (Tyler Chadburn, Ryley Jacks, Louie Fanene tries; Tyler Chadburn 3 goals; Ryley Jacks field goal) def NORTHS DEVILS 12 (Rogan Dean, Liam Tyson tries; Liam Tyson 2 goals) at Pizzey Park.
TWEED HEADS SEGULLS 24 (Nathanael Barnes 2, Shaun Carney, Leva Li, Ali Grant; Blake Anderson 2 goals) drew EASTS TIGERS 24 (Maeli Seve, Donald Malone, Michael Kai, Matt Duffie, Billy Walters; Donald Malone 2 goals)