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.

Article originally published:

1988: The Broncos, The Seagulls & The Year of Change

By Lee Reily 

When Brisbanites recall 1988, two things come instantly to mind; Expo 88 and the debut season of the Brisbane Broncos.

This left the Brisbane Rugby League that was in the midst of its strongest era, having to take a back seat to the expanded Winfield Cup. The Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Giants joined the Broncos as the code looked to expand from a solely NSW/ACT competition.

The Wynnum Manly Seagulls felt the bite harder than most after the Broncos recruited BRL heavyweights Gene Miles, Greg Dowling, Colin Scott and the “King” Wally Lewis into the inaugural squad.

Seagulls’ 1988 Reserve Grade coach Graham Smith recalls that season vividly and how much impact the Broncos had on the public.

“Everybody became a Broncos supporter overnight, whether or not they had ever followed rugby league.

“We were left virtually with a bunch of young kids to keep the club going, which they did.”

Two of the local kids which Smith is referring to from 1988 included Neil Tierney and John Plath.

Tierney would go on to be part of the Manly 1996 premiership side and play in all three games for the Maroons in 1997, while Plath would be part of the Broncos first four premierships (1992, 1993, 1997and 1998).

Wynnum Manly were to the BRL what Canterbury and Parramatta were to the Winfield Cup and BMD Kougari Oval was a Mecca for diehard league fans.

“When the stars were there, that joint (Kougari Oval) would be choc-a-block with probably five to six thousand people filling the place up.”

Following the exodus of the game’s most talented players, crowd figures dropped significantly and the Seagulls felt the financial impact of the BRL capitulation as hard as any other club.

“We were trying to keep star players with chook raffles, selling beer over the [bar] and gate receipts from home games.

“The club was going to be sold. They were in debt,” Smith recalls.

Sitting in his backyard, only a stone throw from the club that he and many others fought tirelessly to keep alive, Smith can’t help but reflect on the likes of Valleys, Brothers and Wests that fell by the wayside.

“We were fortunate to survive, I feel for the clubs that didn’t.”

This Sunday the 25th of March, the club hosts the Men of League – Seagulls Past Players Luncheon’ which will coincide with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Redcliffe Dolphins rivalry round game. The 1988 squad will feature as special guests for the afternoon. To book tickets, click here.