By Cameron Anchor (QRL Wynnum Manly Correspondent)
An intriguing encounter awaited at BMD Kougari Oval for the final round, with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls hosting the Norths Devils – before the match, the Devils sat in fifth place on the ladder, but their position couldn’t improve with a win nor a loss.
As for the Seagulls however, they were looking to consolidate a top two spot and ensure themselves a home final next week.
The match started in unfortunate circumstances for the home side with star back rower Matiu-Love-Henry going down clutching at his leg with only 40 seconds gone in the game.
Once the action began, the Devils benefited from a seven-tackle set in the ninth minute and they marched their way down the field. On the last tackle, Connor Broadhurst combined with his winger Paul Ulberg and he crossed for the first try of the afternoon.
The Seagulls worked their way into good ball territory not long after and also opted to run on the last Pat Templeman ran the ball to line held the ball up very late and handed it Love-Henry’s replacement Kelly Tate, who did some juggling before slamming the ball down to score and get the Gulls back in the game.
The Devils were going toe-to-toe with the Seagulls, showing even without flashy winger Herbie Farnworth (who was a late withdrawal due to injury) that they could still play attacking expansive footy.
The Seagulls needed some X factor to break this game open and who else to provide but Edene Gebbie.
He scooted out of dummy half close to the line and threw a speculator flick pass which luckily enough for the Gulls bounced off a Devil into the in goal and winger Jack Goodsell swooped to score and take the score out to 10-6.
That’s the way the score would remain heading to halftime.
The Seagulls were running to their favoured ‘Chook Pen’ end of the ground to finish the match and just three minutes into the second half, they had a try to cheer about with Alex Barr crashing over to extend the lead.
The Seagulls were on a roll and in the matter of three minutes, Gebbie had a double. The first came from a dart from dummy half, while the second came off a Sam Scarlett kick which bounced around and took a right turn away from the Devils fullback Jack Ahearn and straight in the hand of the PNG international to score in front of the Pen again.
In no time at all, the Seagulls had stormed out to a 24-6 lead.
The Devils couldn’t manage to find some consistent possession, and just when they thought they had – Templeman executed the perfect one-on-one strip and raced away to score untouched and take the Seagulls out to a 30-6 lead.
The Devils eventually got their defence in order and clawed some possession back, however, it was all too late the score remained 30-6 to see the Seagulls earn themselves a home final finishing the regular season in second spot.