Category: Optus Insider

Optus Insider | Hayden Crowley

By Lee Reilly

The season starts again for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls when they take on the Valleys Diehards at BMD Kougari Oval in the BRL A Grade Semi Final. For Fullback Hayden Crowley the season starts again so past results mean nothing.

“The games we’ve put together you can probably put behind you and start with a clean slate because everyone gets a chance to go through to the Grand Final.”

“This year I think it’s two in one in their (Valleys) favour. There’s always healthy competition and hopefully with the team we go out with we can put them to the sword and push through to play Redcliffe next weekend.”

Crowley is aware that it is now up to the players to get the job done and the squad spoke during the week about players stepping up.

“I think it’s been more the players talking to each other. Ron and Jody have been good throughout the year with giving us roles individually but this is the time of the year that the coach can only say so much and it’s up to the players to step up to the mark and if that doesn’t happen it’s going to be an early season knock off I guess.”

Injuries to the Queensland Intrust Super Cup Squad means there has been plenty of reshuffling to the squad in 2017, but the Townsville junior knows that been part and parcel of the Seagulls season.

“It’s been pretty strong. Alot of players filter down into the comp (BRL) from Q Cup and it makes the competition really healthy. We’ve had a pretty interrupted year with injuries in the top squad.”

Away from the field Crowley has is a Community Liasion Officer with the Yulu-Burri-Ba local Indigenous health practise, admitting he never knows what the day will bring.

“My role continuously change day to day. I like to tell people I’m a middle man between the client and clinic. If there’s some cultural difficulties or boundaries, I often come into play and persuade some of our mob how important health is.”

The previous two years Crowley spent time as a Teacher’s aide at Brisbane Bayside College. An experience that has left a lasting impression on Crowley.

“I worked with kids with disabilities, kids with ADHD, ASD. Autistic kids were probably my favourite to work with. At times they were very challenging, but it definitely makes you appreciate what you’ve got.”

“I moved from Townsville into that job and I was away from family away from friends. There was some days darker than others when you’re missing home but once you go to working with the kids who seem to be really bubbly even though their home or personal lives might not be great, It really puts everything into perspective.”

The BRL semi-final match kicks off at BMD Kougari Oval at 6pm (free entry).


OPTUS INSIDER | Jeriah Goodrich

By Lee Reilly

Being in and out of games and not putting in full 80 minute performances has been a struggle in 2017 for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls according to outside back, Jeriah Goodrich.

“That’s been our biggest problem this year is closing out games. We need to be more consistent for the whole 80 minutes.”

“It has nothing to do with skill, it’s all mental, “added Goodrich.

The most disappointing part of their loss to Burleigh Bears was how well they played against the Easts Tigers  the week before, according to the 23 year- old.

“That was off the Northern Pride game in Bamaga. We tossed up a pretty poor performance there.”

“Everyone was in a good mindset for the derby against the Easts Tigers and we went in for the kill that’s for sure. I don’t know if that took a bit out of us and contributed to the result against the Bears.”

“We’ve been unfortunate this year with injuries, although the guys that have come up have done a great job. I think going forward as a club that can’t be an excuse. We need to go back to the days where that “no excuse mentality”, that is Wynnum and anybody who puts on that jersey will turn up and do a job.”

“I know it’s tough and we can kick buckets as much as we want but at the end of the day anyone who gets to put on the jersey is fully capable and needs to get the job done without any excuses.”

Leading into the last bye, the entire Seagulls squad had an old fashion bbq after training; an initiative that Goodrich believes brings the side together.

“We had a big hit out and a BBQ afterwards. The main message from Brido was take your mind away from footy, getaway from it.We do it for that many weeks of the year so it’s nice to get away and come back refreshed.”

“I definitely feel having the social events, having a beer after the games does help, especially  with the amount of new blokes and overall morale of the side. Just helps everyone get along better and I think that transcends onto the field.”

A concreter by trade, Goodrich like many of his team-mates knows that getting his body right is paramount to being able to contribute for the Seagulls.

“It’s not the easiest job, its very labour intensive. Your flogging it out for 8 to 11 hours a day in the sun then have to get to training”

“I’ve sort of set myself a bedtime of 9:30. Make sure I’ve packed my lunch the night before and then water is definitely key. I make sure I pack a water cooler when I go to work.”

OPTUS INSIDER | Will Brimson

By Lee Reilly

Wynnum Manly Seagulls centre William Brimson hopes that the Seagulls can give the fans a final win at home in 2017 when they take on the Burleigh Bears this Sunday at BMD Kougari Oval.

“As a team we probably let our fans down a little bit. The last few games we’ve won at home there’s been a real good feeling.”

“Hopefully on Sunday we can put on another eighty minute performance, let the fans get behind us and get a win for them.”

With the Seagulls and Bears sitting in 9th and 10th placed respectively on the Intrust Super Cup ladder, the former Broncos U20’s player is well aware that getting a final win at home is not going to be an easy feat at Kougari.

“I’ll definitely be expecting a big game. Burleigh is always a strong side, always a big side. They probably haven’t performed the way they’ve wanted to this season. They still have the depth there,” Brimson said.

The Seagulls will go into the game brimming with confidence after their 22-6 victory over the more fancied Easts Tigers who had Melbourne Storm players Nate Myles, Brodie Croft, Robbie Rochow and Young Tonumaipea on deck last Sunday.

“The best thing in footy is momentum. We got through that first 20 minute period and went up fourteen nil at half time.”

“Our boys defended really well and once the momentum started they didn’t stop and we were able to bag a few more tries.”

Brimson when asked what has gone wrong in 2017 couldn’t put his finger on any one thing in particular but knows that a strong finish to the season could help sow the seeds for an improved 2018.

“I probably couldn’t tell you to be honest. We started the season 3-0 ; we’ve got a good side on paper. We knew what we had to fix it but we weren’t actually going out there and executing it,” added Brimson.

“We lost a couple of games there that we probably should have won against sides that we were definitely better than. There was always belief within the group. We were training well and training hard.”

“Hopefully the back-end of this year we can hopefully win the rest of our games and lead into a strong pre-season do a bit better next year.”

The second year apprentice Electrician has found himself thrown into the halves at stages this year with the Seagulls having suffered a lot of injuries at six and seven this year.

“Obviously halves are probably the most important position in the team. We’ve had a few injuries; I started the season in there and got moved to the centres and then ended back in the halves.”

“It is what is. Obviously there’s a bit of disruption there but we knew whoever we had there could and would do the job. We’ve shown that against quality sides when Travis Burns wasn’t there.”

OPTUS INSIDER | Jayden Berrell

By Lee Reilly

Wynnum Manly Seagulls hooker Jayden Berrell believes getting back to basics and playing some consistent football is the most important thing for the side when they go up against Easts Tigers on Derby day at BMD Kougari Oval this Sunday.

“I think the main thing is just to play some good football. It’s been a very up and down season for us, we need to try and get out there and play the football we know we can.”

The Seagulls will have to work hard to make the top 6 after Saturday night’s upset against Northern Pride in Bamaga, not that Berrell is using the travel involved as part of country week as the reason for the poor showing.

“It’s obviously disappointing and not the result we wanted up there. We just didn’t turn up and Northern Pride got the better of us on the day.”

“We spent most of Friday travelling up there. A few of the boys pulled up a bit stiff sitting on the plane all day but we don’t use that as an excuse.”

The return of experienced half Travis Burns for Sunday is a blessing according to the hooker, his NRL and English Super League experience will be crucial out there on Sunday.

“Travis has a lot of experience behind him and he’s just come back from Super League so he’s a big boost for us and brings a lot of knowledge back to the side.”

Good defense has been a one of the positives to take out of the season so far but putting more points on the board is something that the 22 year-old knows the club needs to improve on.

“I think we’ve been quite strong defensively this year, I think it’s been probably one of our better assets. Just putting points on the board is something we need to work harder on.”

Away from the game Berrell’s full time occupation is as a carpenter who works and lives on the Gold Coast and makes the commute to Wynnum Manly to train and play.

“I’m a carpenter by trade. I finished my apprenticeship last year. That was my biggest goal away from footy was getting that finished and completed. I got that ticked off,” added Berrell.

“I travel up three or four times after a week after work. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s not too bad when you come to a place like Wynnum.”

Don’t expect the talented hooker to be lounging on the couch watching the NRL on the TV or checking his phone for score updates. Being as far removed from the game is crucial according to the former Bronco.

“Getting away from football is my biggest thing. Not spending too much time on the game is pretty healthy. ”

“I don’t usually even watch footy at home. I only train and play, apart from that I try to stay away from it and keep my mind on other things so the interest stays there I guess.”

The reason for the switch from the Norths Devils to the Seagulls in 2017 was down to Adam Brideson taking over as head coach who served as a mentor to him when he was at the Broncos.

“I’ve spent a few years through the U20’s system as well. He’s actually the reason I came out here this season, it’s been real enjoyable playing under him this year.”

One thing that the former Junior Kangaroo is still come to grips with in his first season at Wynnum Manly Seagulls is the eccentricity of team-mate and fan favourite Peter Gubb.

“I’m still trying to comprehend what goes on with him. You just watch him out there and he’s doing weird stuff, I don’t know what goes through his head.”

“He jumps over lines, he has to put his clothes on a certain way, name it,” joked Berrell.



Optus Insider | Travis Burns

By Lee Reilly

Wynnum-Manly Seagulls Travis Burns is hoping to be back on the Paddock as the club clings to hope of a Top 6 finals berth that continues this week when the club goes up against Northern Pride in Bamaga as part of the QRL’s Country Round.

The former NRL and English Super League player’s hand injury has limited his training but Burns is doing everything humanly possible to be ready for his return.

“Being out for so long you lose your match fitness. I’m doing a lot of running so that when I’m back I can be fit and ready to go.”

“I took a little bit of time off to try and get my hand right as quick as I can. Hopefully I’m on the field soon and back winning games for Wynnum.”

His stint on the sideline has given Burns a glimpse of the future for Wynnum-Manly and boom half Aaron Booth has impressed the decorated footballer.

“The young fellas have stood up. Aaron Booth who has come into the halves, unlucky for him he’s injured now. He’s a real player of the future; I have a lot of time for Aaron, he wants to learn and listen.”

One thing the experienced half has noticed since joining Wynnum-Manly is how well first-year coach Adam Brideson has handled what at times has been a difficult Intrust Super Cup season.

“He’s had a lot to deal with in his first year as a head coach with the injuries we’ve had and a few close losses. I think he’s handled himself well.”

The former NRL star has also seen how far the progress of the younger players has come along under the tutelage of the man affectionately known as Brido.

“You just see with the progress of the young players that have come in goes down to Brido (Brideson) and the coaching staff have fast tracked them that they can step into state league and play well.”

“We have a really good young squad and in the next few years you’re going to see a lot of success.”

The likeable Burns is unsure if 2017 will be his rugby league swansong but is keen to finish the season with back on the field for the Seagulls.

“I haven’t made that decision yet. Obviously I’m 33 years- old now and I’ve had a good career. If it comes to call time as a footballer at the end of this year I’ll be happy with that decision.”

“Something I’ll have to speak to my family and obviously Brido (Brideson) about. It’s been a tough year with a few niggling injuries I’ve had and that just come with age. I’m not young anymore; I’m at the back end of my career.”

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time and I just want to get back on the paddock for Wynnum and if it is my final year finish my career in good stead and win some games with a great bunch of lads.”

John Te Reo reaches 200 ISC Games Milestone

By Lee Reilly

One of Wynnum Manly’s favourite sons, John Te Reo, will bring up his 200th Intrust Super Cup match this weekend when the Seagulls face the Redcliffe Dolphins this Saturday night at Dolphin Oval.

The 31 year-old has seen the game change in front of his eyes and believes the Intrust Super Cup is a lot harder than ever before.

“People playing the game have gotten harder, I’ve noticed that.”

There have been many highlights, most notably Wynnum Manly’s titles in 2011 and 2012, but a Grand Final loss to the Redcliffe Dolphins when playing for the Toowoomba Clydesdales still burns brightly in his memory.

“The back to back premierships will always standout,” Te Reo said.

“In my first year playing for Toowoomba, (it was great) making the grand final that year but losing to Redcliffe was a bitter sweet moment. I thought that one was in the bag.”

The strong culture of the Seagulls and a motto of loyalty is something the 31 year-old loves about the club.

“There’s no fairytales to the place, what you see is what you get. Everybody makes themselves at home, there’s a warm feeling when you walk in the door.

“You always want to be around the club, people that go to Wynnum always seem stay loyal.”

One thing that the likeable Kiwi remembers is how important North Queensland Cowboys premiership winning coach Paul Green was in installing a professional attitude to the club.

“You could see it from the start; he’s just professional in what he does. He always takes care of his players, especially in regards to staying on top of injuries, training and rehab. He made a semi-professional club in Wynnum-Manly seem like it was a professional club,” added Te Reo.

“He didn’t mind spraying people on the spot, didn’t mind singling players out. I guess that’s just how it should be. If you want to be at a professional level you shouldn’t be afraid to single people out on their mistakes, I like it.”

According to the hooker a lot of the traits he saw first-hand from Green seemed to have rubbed off on current Wynnum Manly coach Adam Brideson.

“Brido’s (Brideson) a bit the same as well, doesn’t mind singling people out, as he should.

“What you see from Brido is what you get. He’ll shoot from the hip as well. He was like that when I was playing with him and he hasn’t changed much.

“He’s a good coach and he could be the next big thing to come out of Wynnum-Manly.”

Te Reo joins the 200 club not long after good mate Mathew Seamark brought up the same milestone last month.

“We’ve been good mates since we came to the club at the same time.

“I always played next to Matty so we make sure that we know what each other is thinking. If he did something wrong, I would probably blow him up and vice versa if I ran a bad line or I didn’t do something right.”

His playing career also saw him play in the NRL for the Brisbane Broncos back in 2007, where he played seven first-grade games. The 31 year-old has often wondered what could have been but is proud of his achievements.

“I guess I could have done things better back then but I think I was just young.

“It was a bit surreal, I think it went too quick for me and I really didn’t savour the moment.

“I was so happy to play. I think if I had another year there it would have been a lot more different.

“I’m just happy with the people I met when I was out there. I’ve got some good friends and it’s one of the highlights of my life.”

Last week’s 36-18 win over Central Queensland Capras keeps the Seagulls’ slim finals aspirations alive and Te Reo hopes they can upset the third place Redcliffe Dolphins on Saturday night.

“It is good to get a win and (hopefully) that snow balls into the next few weeks.

“Redcliffe will be a big game that we need to win. Every week now is important and when we go out there, we need to do the jersey proud.”

Optus Insider | Max Elliott ready for battle

By Lee Reilly

Wynnum-Manly lock Max Elliott is well aware that Saturday night’s match against Souths Logan is a must win if the side is any chance to play finals in 2017.
According to Elliott, there were many factors why the Seagulls were beaten by the Sunshine Coast Falcons last Saturday night at BMD Kougari Oval.

“(The game) just didn’t pan out, we got out enthused. (We) couldn’t chase down what was already on the board,” Elliott said.

“I think back to back penalties, second phase play and the amount of metres they made through the middle just really put us on the back foot.”

The battle of the forwards will go a long way to determining who will come out on top at Kougari on Saturday night; an issue which was spoken about right after last week’s loss to the Falcons.

“The emphasis was a lot more on the forwards.

“If we can get on top of (their forwards) we should be able to get (the win).”

The Seagulls will be hoping history repeats on Saturday night with Wynnum-Manly having defeated Souths Logan 17-4 in the opening round of the season.

The home side also has a far superior head to head record against the Magpies with 29 wins to their 11 and one draw. But Souths Logan have been hard to beat on the road this year registering five wins, meaning the game will be a hard fought contest.

Round 17 of the Intrust Super Cup also marks Indigenous Round. This weekend, the Queensland Rugby League and the Major Competitions are acknowledging the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the game by celebrating a number of key anniversaries.

Prepared in conjunction with the QRL’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, all home clubs will broadcast a special message outlining some important milestones.

Significant milestones to be recognised during Indigenous Round:
> 50-year anniversary of the 1967 Referendum
> 25-year anniversary of the Mabo Judgement
> 20-year anniversary of the Torres Strait Islander flag
> 20-year anniversary of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report

Prior to kick off, the Yulu-Burri-Ba dancers will be demonstrating Traditional Indigenous Song and Dance to kick off the Quandamooka Festival.

Matty 200 | Seamark’s Milestone

By Lee Reilly

Seagulls half-back Mathew Seamark will bring up his 200th Intrust Super Cup game when Wynnum-Manly takes on the Sunshine Coast Falcons this Saturday night at BMD Kougari Oval, an Honour quite deserving of the modest 30 year-old.

“Ten years, long time ago now. I know at the start I didn’t play too many games as there were a lot of established players here.”

“It’s been a long time playing and to reach two hundred (games) is a big achievement and one that I’m proud of. I remember it being such a wonderful club and still is,” Seamark said.

Career highlights have been a plenty including lifting aloft back to back premierships trophies in 2011 and 2012.

“Obviously 2011 and 2012 was a great time at the club and obviously to win two (premierships) is awesome.”

The popular Seagulls stalwart other career highpoint was representing Wales at the 2013 World Cup.

“It was six and a half weeks on tour playing against different nations. What can I say; it was the best time of my life.”

One of his tour team-mates was a young St George -Illawarra Dragon by the name of Tyson Frizzell, now a NSW Origin and Australian test regular.

“He was only 19 or 20 years old when he played for Wales then. He’s come on in leaps and bounds now.”

Seamark returns to the No. 7 jersey after a neck injury put the pivot out of action for two weeks and sees Aaron Booth shift to five-Eighth with William Brimson dropping out of the side after injuring himself in Sunday’s 16-6 win over the Norths Devils.

Seamark returns to a Seagulls side that has won two in a row at home and wants to turn Kougari Oval into a fortress.

“Our performances at home haven’t been good enough, so we need to show our fans we can still win at home.”

“We just need to get ourselves in order and the rest will look after itself.”

FINAL WORD | with Mitch Frei

By Lee Reilly

For Wynnum-Manly Seagulls Captain Mitch Frei, Sundays match is a must win and Norths Devils will be a tough assignment.

“They’ve got a pretty good side. A lot of experience in this competition (Intrust Super Cup) and first grade (NRL) as well.”

“One thing I’ve noticed with the competition this year is how close it is. There’s not too much difference between the top and the bottom teams. You probably don’t have those weeks where you’re going in thinking you have an easy win. You’ve got to turn up every week and we’ll definitely be doing that on Sunday against Norths.”

For Frei, the transition back to Wynnum-Manly – after a season with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL which netted the 25 year-old six first-grade games – has been an easy one.

“It’s been a good transition for me actually. A lot of the players I played with are still here.”

“Since I have come back it hasn’t felt uncomfortable and I’ve fitted right back in.”
Frei believes the high standard of the Queensland Cup is fast making it the best competition outside of the NRL.

“It’s a very physical competition. I think it’s probably working its way up to maybe being the second strongest rugby league competition in the world.”

“There are a lot of people who have played first-grade; there are a lot of people who have played for a very long time. It’s a very tough competition, always has been and probably always will be.”

Last week’s convincing  46-8 victory over the Tweed Heads Seagulls was a perfect way to start the sides four-game block at BMD Kougari Oval, and just the type of game the side needed.

“We’ve been waiting on a game like that for a little while now. Everything clicked together. It was just a real good effort from all the boys and a good confidence booster going into this week.”

Wins at home have been an issue in 2017 for Wynnum-Manly, something the side has talked about at great lengths and wants to rectify moving forward for the rest of the season.

“We pride ourselves on winning at home. That’s something we’ve been poor at this year. So we have had a conversation about making sure we can win the rest of our home games.”

“We are in a position where we do need to win a lot of games to make the top 6, so winning all those home games will help out with that.”
Sunday also marks a live QLD Intrust Super Cup on Channel Nine, which according to the 25 year-old only helps enhance the competition.

“I think it’s really good with what Channel Nine do with our competition. It gives us all a little bit of exposure. It expands our competition and puts the young players coming through on the map.” Frei said.