By Cameron Anchor (Seagulls Media)
Adam Brideson will rue the missed opportunities by his men as the BMD Wynnum Manly Seagulls went down 26-24 to the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The Seagulls out-scored the Falcons five tries to four but left plenty of points on the field with goal kicking proving costly.
A high error rate and ill-timed penalties were also prominent in the match as Wynnum showed some early season rust against a Falcons side determined to get their first win at home.
The match featured two of the premier halfbacks in the competition, Todd Murphy and Sam Scarlett, going head to head in a personal battle.
Both at new clubs respectively, the former Broncos’ contracted halves each had a point to prove and would be influential in the match.
The Falcons owned the early exchanges with dominant field position eventually paying off as Nathanael Mcgavin opened the scoring off a well-timed Chris Lewis offload.
Murphy was quiet early, however he calmly put the Falcons up 8-0 from a penalty goal in the 15th minute.
The Seagulls got back to basics after some early handling errors and worked themselves up the field to set up a trademark Kalolo Saitaua dart from dummy half close to the line.
Junior Pauga missed the conversion from close range which left the Falcons ahead 8-4.
The Seagulls still had all the momentum and Scarlett’s pinpoint kicking game led to an Ed Burns try.
Burns bagged himself a double four minutes later with Scarlett again the provider, this time with a beautiful cut out pass.
Pauga missed his third kick on the trot and the Seagulls led 12-8.
The action was far from over in the first half as a brain snap by the Seagulls off the restart caused a turnover as Scarlett was trapped in goal.
The Falcons took full advantage with Murphy sweeping to the right hand side and turning a ball inside for Daniel Dole to barge over and score.
Murphy converted and the Falcons led 14-12.
Minutes later big off season recruit for the Seagulls from the PNG Hunters, Edene Gebbie made a big line break which resulted in Scarlett laying on another try with a well placed chip for Delouise Hoeter.
The PNG international was hard to handle all match and made a number of linebreaks for the Seagulls.
This time Pauga converted and the Seagulls went into the break with a 18-14 lead.
The Falcons knew they needed to start the second half better to arrest the Seagulls’ momentum and they did just that with Lachlan Roe carrying three Wynnum defenders to score under the post,
Murphy converted and the Falcons had the lead again 20-18.
Errors started to creep into both sides in the second half, but when the Seagulls needed something special, it was Scarlett who was the difference maker again, this time picking up a try for himself with a weaving run.
The Seagulls led 24-20 with 18 minutes remaining to set up a thrilling finish.
An unlikely hero for the home side, Sam Burns put through a sneaky grubber that was coughed up by Gebbie in the in-goal and the Falcons’ utility finished off his own work to score.
This left the experienced Murphy with the game-winning conversion to put the Falcons ahead and the veteran playmaker delivered in the clutch to secure a 26-24 victory.