By Cameron Anchor
BMD Wynnum Manly Seagulls winger Ed Burns scored his fifth and sixth tries of the season in the first half as the visitors beat the Northern Pride 26-18 in Cairns.
The Brisbane Broncos U20s graduate is now second equal in the competition try scoring ladder.
Thursday night’s win ensures the Seagulls remain in the Top Four after seven rounds for the first time since 2015.
Both the Seagulls and the Pride were looking to bounce back after both sides suffered losses in round six.
It was the Seagulls who scored first when a brilliant Edene Gebbie kick was collected by halfback Sam Scarlett in the 8th minute.
Scarlett and his 18-year-old halves partner Tom Dearden provided a lot of class early in the match to control proceedings.
Burns crossed for his first try in 12th minute after some crafty work from Junior Pauga.
Four minutes later he had his double courtesy of a brilliant piece of play started by the in-form Scarlett.
The half did a show-and-go at the line to get his head through, and offloaded to a flying Kalolo Saitaua to split the defence. Saitaua then put an inch perfect kick through into the corner for Burns to win a foot race and touch down for a superb try.
The Pride did not go away and Steven Taipata on his Intrust Super Cup debut pegged one back in the 24th minute after a clever kick from Maurice Blair.
In the 28th minute, Saitaua burrowed over in trademark style from from dummy half to extend the Gulls’ lead.
Pride half Brayden Torpy was leading some incisive raids on the Seagulls’ left edge defence and he was able to break the visitors’ down when Jack Murphy crashed over out wide. Torpy then slotted the sideline conversion to bring the score to 20-12 at halftime.
The Gulls started the second half with strong intensity and were rewarded with a try to Gebbie in the 45th minute.
However the visitors would not score again as sloppy handling and decision making affected the team’s performance in the second half.
Cowboys’ contracted forward Peter Hola busted over in the 69th minute to force a close finish, however the Seagulls were able to hang on for a 26-18 victory.
The Seagulls and Pride both wore their special Colour Rush uniforms, with the Seagulls in all white and Pride in all orange, provided by their apparel partner EMU Sportswear.
Jerseys and merchandise can be purchased from the Seagulls Online Store.