Final success for Gulls
By MICHAEL HILLIER
TWEED Heads continued their march towards a maiden appearance in the Queensland Cup grand final with an emphatic 40-14 thrashing of Ipswich in Saturday's minor semi-final at the Piggabeen Sports Complex.
The Seagulls will now take on minor premiers North Queensland in the sudden-death preliminary final at Langlands Park after the Young Guns were beaten 28-18 by Redcliffe on Friday night.
The winner of Saturday's clash will play reigning premiers Redcliffe in the grand final at Suncorp Stadium on September 15.
"It's going to be a tough one," Seagulls coach Troy McCarthy said yesterday of Saturday's showdown with the Young Guns.
"There is no added pressure there. We know we're a good side. "If luck falls our way we could end up doing anything." Seagulls did not require luck against the Jets, producing an inspired performance to register the club's first Queensland Cup finals win from three attempts.
Still smarting after the previous weekend's golden-point loss to Redcliffe, Seagulls were aggressive from the outset.
Second-rower Selasi Berdie set the tone when he smashed Jets prop Isaak Ah Mau in the very first tackle of the match.
Four minutes later, Seagulls opened the scoring with winger Nathanael Barnes swooping on a loose pass and racing 90 metres to bag his first of three tries for the day.
Five-eighth Brad Davis, who finished with eight goals from nine attempts, duly converted to hand the home side a 6-0 lead.
Just five minutes later and Seagulls extended their advantage to 12-0 when centre James Wood crossed for the first of his two tries for the day.
Seagulls continued to apply the pressure, making the most of Ipswich's lack of discipline and when Barnes crossed for his second on the stroke of half-time, Tweed held a 20-4 advantage.
"We were kind of more clinical," McCarthy said.
"Usually we score a couple of tries and let a couple in. Today our plan was to be nice and clinical, just keep the scoreboard ticking over."
Seagulls' cause was made all the easier by an Ipswich outfit intent on testing the referee's patience.
"We were our own worst enemy," Ipswich coach Kevin Walters said.
"We didn't get too many favours from him (Wise) but that's our fault more than anything."
Saturday's showing from Seagulls has Walters tipping them as a genuine premiership threat.
"They're a good team," the former Broncos captain said. "There is not much between the three that's left now. Anyone of them could certainly grab it."
Seagulls will take on North Queensland at Langlands Park, Brisbane, from 2pm on Saturday.
Walters said the Seagulls gave the Jets a "lesson in many areas".
Barnes completed a superb hat-trick in the second half, while Wood and David Myles scored spectacular long-range tries to send the Seagulls fans into a frenzy.
Titans-contracted player Josh Lewis had a shocker for the Jets, with his normally slick passing and kicking game well off target.
TWEED HEADS 40 (N Barnes 3, J Wood 2, D Myles tries; B Davis 8 goals) IPSWICH 14 (L Walker, R Dodd, R Bird tries; J Lewis goal) NEXT WEEK North Queensland v Tweed Heads at Langlands Park, Saturday 2pm.