Seagulls Fall Short In Home Opener

By Kenny Andres

After coming up short in a comeback attempt last week against Burleigh, the Sunshine Coast Falcons were able to leave BMD Kougari Oval with a tight win over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls yesterday.

In the end, a field goal was the only difference between the two sides at fulltime in a game that had multiple lead changes throughout.

The Seagulls weathered an early storm by the Falcons, who were presented with multiple attacking opportunities via penalties that would eventually see them opt to accept back-to-back shots at goal.

The second penalty was the result of a high tackle on Sunshine Coast fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who was forced from the field, forcing coach Craig Ingebrigtsen to reshuffle his backline only eight minutes in to the game.

It wasn’t until the 20th minute that fans saw some try scoring action, when the Wynnum halves found an overlap down the right hand side, allowing a rampaging Peter Gubb to trample over the Falcons last line of defence to score.

A lack of discipline was the bane of both coaches by halftime as 10 penalties were awarded in the first half.

Ball security was not ideal either; in fact, a spilt ball by Wynnum Manly eventually culminated in the Falcons first try when star centre Justin Olam burrowed his way through Seagull goal-line defence to retake the lead.

Heading into the break however, the Seagulls again jumped back in front, displaying level of execution they were capable of when a beautiful sweeping left-side set play resulted in a Daniel Ogden four-pointer.

Second half saw Wynnum seem to take control of the match, opening the second half scoring through a high-flying double to Ogden and returning boom forward Salesi Funaki to extend the lead.

Strong defence particularly from the centre pairing of Jeriah Goodrich and Delouise Hoeter furthered the feel of a home victory as the Seagull physicality picked up with the 12-point lead.

Falcons hooker Harry Grant would be the one to spark the comeback for the visitors. He sent winger Alex Copelin down the right hand side in the 61st minute, then ducked in for a try of his own six minutes later.

 With the scores now level at 22-22, Wynnum would be given a prime opportunity after forcing an error inside Falcon territory – but they failed to convert after an error of their own.

This opened the door for the Falcons, who utilised a valuable penalty late in the tackle count to put them in position for the game winner.

The ensuing set saw them do just that, a 20m Kurt Aldridge field goal ultimately seeing the Falcons notch their first win of 2018.

The Wynnum Manly Seagulls will now look to secure their first home victory next week against the Redcliffe Dolphins, whilst the Falcons will host the PNG Hunters in a grand final rematch.

SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 23 (Justin Olam, Alex Copelin, Harry Grant tries; Kurt Aldridge 5 goals; Kurt Aldridge field goal) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Daniel Ogden 2, Peter Gubb, Salesi Funaki tries; Shaun Nona 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.

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