How Tweed Seagulls came back from the dead
AFTER three wins on the trot, with two in convincing fashion, could the Tweed Seagulls finally be fleeing its perch on the bottom rungs of the InTrust Super Cup Ladder?
Three weeks ago, the Seagulls' season was nearly sunk. Here's how Tweed has turned it all around.
It started with a win all struggling teams have to have. Away at Manly and staring down the barrel of an 0-6 start and another lost season, Tweed scraped over the line, 26-22, for their first win in season 2018.
The next week, at Piggabeen, a 24-12 win over Easts Tigers seemed a lot more real. It was Tweed's first big scalp of the year, and a huge confidence booster for the club.
Last Saturday's 28-point victory away to Mackay consolidated Tweed's rapidly growing confidence. It was a game some were nervous the Seagulls might drop after two good wins, but the commanding performance was a mature one too. The win has put Tweed into a log jam of teams on six points between 8th and 12th on the ladder.
As Seagulls skipper Cheyne Whitelaw keeps telling us, this young Seagulls side is getting to know how each other plays.
With key players, including Whitelaw, now back from injury, the Seagulls have finally started to see results on the pitch.
Whitelaw says the Seagulls' mentality has become fixated on defence and tackling, and controlling the game via this focus.
There are few better qualified than Whitelaw to galvanise their troops around this area of the game. He was Intrust Super NSW Lock of the Year last year, and he lays just about more tackles than anyone.
Tweed's scoring has surged in the last three weeks. Compare the numbers:
Rounds 1 - 5
46 points for.
102 points for.
A club can go into self-preservation mode when it seems like it can't buy a win. But Tweed, in a sign of a smart footy club, went into discovery mode.
Coach Ben Woolf has been proactive with moving around his magnets to see what works and what doesn't, and one of the stories of the season has been AJ Brimson's move to fullback. Brimson's lightning pace and assuredness under the high ball have already earned effusive praise from his skipper, and plenty of others are noticing, too.
The McGrady brothers, Brandon and Linton, have gone up another notch. At five-eighth and inside centre respectively, the pair's telepathic chemistry is unlocking all sorts of gaps in the opposition's defence. Brayden has made the most of them, going over for seven tries during the past three games.
Axed from Titans last week by Gath Brennan, Kane Elgey had an obvious impact for the Seagulls playing at halfback against Mackay. He scored a try and was the chief architect of the Cutters' demise.
All eyes will be on the Titans coach to see if Elgey is recalled in the coming weeks. Tweed would love to have his services during a tough middle stretch of the season.
Bye bottom four
With a guaranteed two points coming the Seagulls' way this weekend for the bye, the club will rise out of the bottom four and potentially within one game of the top six. It all sets up a mouth-watering clash for 'Gulls fans at home against the Ipswich Jets next Saturday. The fixture is always an entertaining one, and it should only be heightened by a crowd starting to see the first rays of light in many years poke through the tunnel. With Ipswich currently sitting sixth on the ladder, the match offers the perfect opportunity for the surging Seagulls to measure themselves up against quality opposition and take stock heading into the second half the season.
The 11th-placed Tweed Heads Seagulls will take on the sixth placed Ipswich Jets in round 10 of the InTrust Super Cup this Saturday, May 12 at the Piggabeen Sports Complex.