Deja Voodoo - Gulls go down in opening round

IN an effort that sparked comparisons with Groundhog Day, reigning premiers Tweed Heads Seagulls produced a dismal performance in the Queensland Cup season opener at Kingscliff at the weekend. Redcliffe capitalised on a mistake-riddled performance from Tweed Heads to run out 38-14 victors in the first Queensland Cup match to be played at Ned Byrne Field. Thrashed by Norths Devils in last year's season opener, Saturday's performance prompted comparisons to the 1990s film Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray's character is forced to relive a day until he gets it right. "We're in the same position we were last year," Tweed Heads coach Michael Woods said. Seagulls recovered from their inauspicious start to the 2007 season, downing Redcliffe in the grand final to claim their maiden Queensland Cup premiership and Woods is confident they can rebound from Saturday's showing. "It wasn't a good performance but there's plenty to be encouraged about, especially with some of the new players coming into the ranks," he said. Woods will also be looking forward to the return of skipper Brad Davis and hooker Matt King who both missed Saturday's loss due to injury. "We had a few players out and some disruptions to the line-up but there are no excuses, Redcliffe were a much better team on the day and they used their experience to greater advantage," Woods said. "Too many turnovers and too many penalties really hurt us today and I think we lacked some composure." A large crowd turned out Saturday to watch Seagulls christen their new home ground but Redcliffe quickly put an end to any thoughts of celebrations. Skipper Troy Lindsay capitalised on a string of errors from the home side, crossing in the 11th minute to hand the visitors a 4-0 lead. Seagulls responded in kind less than 10 minutes later when five-eighth Matthew Nuttall scored and when Ryan Milligan landed the conversion Seagulls led 6-4. That advantage was soon lost as a telling penalty count and poor handling allowed Redcliffe to dominate with front-rower Palmer Wapau and five-eighth Chris Fox both crossing the try-line to open up a 16-6 lead. Hooker Andrew Cross, one of Seagulls' best, produced a fine solo try late in the half to narrow the gap to 16-10 at the break. However, the second half is one Tweed Heads will want to forget. Redcliffe opened the scoring just five minutes after the resumption when flying winger Liam Georgetown crossed and things quickly went from bad to worse. The home side was reduced to 12 men when lock Matt Pow was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes and when Dolphin centre Mitchell Rivett crossed for the first of his two tries, the game was rapidly slipping away at 24-10. Seagulls responded with a try to speedy winger Jonothan Freeman but there was no more joy with Redcliffe piling on three late tries, including a double to fullback Ryan Cullen, to complete the scoring. Cross impressed at dummy-half Nuttall also looked good at five-eighth. Pow produced a Tim Maccan did a solid job marshalling his side in the absence of Davis. In the FOGS Cup, Redcliffe defeated Seagulls 32-16 while the FOGS Colts Challenge saw Seagulls start their premiership defence with a 32-12 victory over the Dolphins.

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