Tigers Hold Off Fast Finishing Seahawks
By Kevin Braysher
SOUTHPORT Tigers have survived a fast finishing Tugun Seahawks to claim their fourth reserve grade premiership in the last six years with a 24-20 win.
The Tigers took a 14-point lead early in the second half and were looking like they would go on with the job, but Tugun showed plenty of fight and clawed their way back.
From start to finish it was a brutal game of football with Southport in particular at times seeming more intent on dishing out punishment than getting the basics right.
This resulted in plenty of needless penalties; something Tigers coach Luke Shaw said almost cost his team dearly.
“We did it pretty tough with all the penalties we gave away,” he said.
“If we cut the penalties out we would have won by a bit more I reckon, but I’m really, really happy for the boys.”
Southport got scoring underway in the 7th minute when halfback Josh Dwyer chipped then regathered and kicked again in one motion with five-eighth Josh Smart diving on the ball for a miraculous try.
Tugun were gifted field position over the next ten minutes through Southport penalties and the result was a try from dummy half to Dylan Prestwidge.
That try was backed up soon after by another to Dylan Nash who powered over.
Nash, who has played the majority of the season in Tugun’s first grade side and represented the Gold Coast Vikings earlier in the year, was immense for the Seahawks at right centre and was a threat every time he got the ball.
However it was his opposite number, Tigers veteran Steve Farrelly, who struck next as he made a break through the middle of the ruck and found fullback Michael Davis in support to even up the scores.
A try to Jonagh Gardiner seconds before the halftime break gave the Tigers the momentum which they carried into the second half with tries to Peter Woodward and Josh Woonton coming shortly after play recommenced.
That set up a 14-point lead for the Tigers who didn’t score another point in the match as Tugun fought hard to save their season.
They got a breakthrough with ten minutes remaining when prop Kurt Lawrence got across the line and when Steve Farrelly was sent to the sin bin for fighting with Dylan Nash shortly after the Seahawks could smell a last gasp victory.
With five minutes to go fullback Keanu Te Kiri took off down the short side and put Jabe Gamble over in the corner to bring them within four points.
But Southport showed some character and held strong for a deserved victory.
Southport were without Titans legend Preston Campbell who was a late scratching due to a speaking commitment, but his team mates made up for his absence especially through hooker Aaron Pawley who was named man of the match.
“I said to (Pawley) before the game ‘I want you to have a big game today, and I want you to get man of the match’ and he did it,” Shaw said.
“It was big for him but more importantly it was good for the team.”
SOUTHPORT TIGERS 24 (J Smart, M Davis, J Gardnier, P Woodward, J Woonton tries M Davis 2 goals) def TUGUN SEAHAWKS 20 (D Prestwidge, D Nash, K Lawrence, J Gamble tries S Bunt 2 goals)