Seagulls crash out
By Hugh Kearney
TWEED Seagulls' run in the Queensland Cup has come to an end, defeated 12-4 by Easts Tigers at Piggabeen Sports Complex on Saturday.
In a low-scoring arm-wrestle, Easts scored two tries to one to eliminate the Seagulls from the finals race.
It was the last game for Seagulls coach Steve Murphy before he heads to the assistant coaching role at the new Gold Coast Titans NRL franchise in 2007.
For Easts, it was the second close tussle in a week. The Tigers only managed to secure their final five berth the previous weekend with a dour 12-6 win over Central Comets, and against the Seagulls they again showed their gritty spirit.
Easts led after just 67 seconds when backrower Mark Cantoni crossed. There was a hint of controversy in the lead-up with the Tigers awarded six more tackles from a deflected kick regathered by Marty Allen.
Easts raced further ahead, establishing a 12-0 lead after just 23 minutes.
Halfback Luke Branighan set the platform for the second try of the match, testing a short blindside late in the tackle count, finding winger David Tyrrell with a well-timed pass and then watching Tyrrell lob the ball inside for centre Mark McKenzie to score.
Tweed Heads responded in the 27th minute with a long-range try to centre James Wood who ran 65 metres to plant the ball over the line.
Easts clung to their lead until the end, with missed opportunities by Seagulls in the second half frustrating coach Steve Murphy in his last game with the club.
Murphy said he was only a little disappointed with the outcome at the end of a very successful season for the club.
"We didn't play our best and Easts, to their credit, defended very well," Murphy said.
"Lack of ball control cost us dearly and on the day we weren't good enough to get over them.
"We didn't throw as much at them as I thought we could have but I am very proud of what the team and the club has done this year."
The Tigers will now meet the loser of the match between North Queensland and Redcliffe.