McCann hails Tweed side's 'special' performance
THE TWEED Seagulls have claimed the under-18 Mal Meninga Cup in a pulsating grand final at Kougari Oval.
The Tweed side survived a late charge from opponents Wynnum-Manly to claim the title 28-24, in what was described by the ground announcer as one of the great under-18 deciders.
The back-and-forth encounter had several momentum shifts, with the game going down to the final play.
Coach Tim McCann claimed the win was special for the NSW-based side, crediting his side's defence as the difference in the match.
"Both teams are very talented across the park, both knew how to build pressure and it was a high quality game," he said.
"It was a very special performance.
"Their defence got them over the line today and it's been that way all season.
"They knew if they made an error they could back it up with their defence."
Tweed hooker Ediq Ambrosyev was in everything from the opening whistle, and was awarded man-of-the-match honours.
Tweed shot out of the blocks to take a 12 point lead inside the first 10 minutes, with Reece Walsh and Ediq Ambrosyev crossing the chalk for the visitors.
But in what was the first of several momentum swings, Wynnum-Manly pegged two tries of their own to bring the deficit to four points.
Mid-field line-breaks were a huge part of Tweed's attack throughout the game, finding ways through the home side's defence to put them on the back foot.
One of these line-breaks led to Tweed's third try on half time to Kade Hill to stretch their lead to 18-8 at the break.
A loud and passionate home crowd were boisterous in the second half, making their presence felt half halftime.
Wynnum-Manly threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visitors in the first 10 minutes after halftime, but Tweed held firm.
Tweed would not budge as Wynnum-Manly peppered their goal-line with four attacking sets.
An error by the home side led to Tweed centre Xavier Coates extending the lead to 14 points with 25 minutes to play.
Wynnum-Manly found their groove and brought the score to 22-20 with 10 to go, but a try to Tweed Prop Solomon Torrens all but iced the premiership for the visitors.
A late try for Wynnum-Manly through Ethan Malt set up a grand-stand finish, but Tweed held firm on the final play of the game to claim the 28-24 win.
Wynnum-Manly 24: Tries: Z Edmonds, M Plath, R Hoffman, B Whittaker, E Malt; Conversions: R Hoffman 2/5
Tweed Seagulls 28: Tries: R Walsh, E Ambrosyev, K Hill, X Coates, S Torrens; Conversions: T Sexton 4/5