The 'brotherhood' which bonds teens
RUGBY LEAGUE: They scrapped into the semi-finals on for-and-against, but a month later they were crowned champions of Australia.
Tweed Seagulls under-18s captain Carsil Vaikai described the group of players he led to the title as a "brotherhood”, and a team which will go down in Seagulls folklore.
"It is was almost overwhelming for us as the first Tweed side to win the under-18s title, to then become national champions,” Vaikai said.
"Everyone in this team are literally like brothers, you couldn't separate us at training.
"We knew when to have fun and we knew when to focus, and when we were out on the field we knew what our roles where and what we had to do for each other.”
It was this brotherhood which was epitomised during their final training session together, according to Vaikai, when an unsuspecting staff member was swarmed by his club.
"Our manager comes out of nowhere during our final drill, steals the ball, pots a field goal and we just swarmed him for fun,” he said.
"That was what our team was about, just being together, bonding like brothers, playing hard and having fun.”
The Tweed captain told of his side's enjoyment of the last 20 minutes of their victory against Illawarra in the national final.
Once the result had been assured, Vaikai said his team were committed to finishing their season together playing their best football.
"We just wanted to finish strong and close out the game with a smile,” he said.
"We wanted to finish the way we had started which was as the better team and not let them through our defence.”