Seagulls spoil Hornets hopes
By ADAM WRATTEN
SEAGULLS all but ended Cudgen's minor premiership hopes with a dominant second-half performance to win yesterday's top-of-the-table clash 36-16 at Piggabeen.
The Gulls ran in five second-half tries to one, after the game was tied 10-all at half-time.
The win puts Seagulls on 29 points, two ahead of Murwillumbah, who had the bye on the weekend, and four ahead of Cudgen, with just three rounds of the Northern Rivers regional Rugby League premiership remaining.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Hornets who were reduced to 12 men for 20 minutes of the second half when prop Dan Donovan was sinbinned for illegal play and then sent off with 10 minutes remaining for a dangerous tackle.
Seagulls coach Troy McCarthy praised his side's "rock-solid defensive" performance.
"Our game plan was to shut down their ball players, Andrew Hamilton and Troy Dickinovski.
"We felt if we did that we would not see so much of (five-eighth) Craig Thurston, which was probably how it turned out."
McCarthy said the half-time break was the best thing that could have happened to his side.
"I thought we were getting impatient in attack in the first half," he said.
Cudgen assistant coach Shane Holland said the loss had effectively ended the club's chances of winning the minor premiership.
"We were in it at half-time and had a chance of going on and winning the game but they came out and out-enthused us," Holland said.
"It's hard when you are playing with 12 men, particularly against a side with the speed of Seagulls. With the send off it was 20 minutes where we had 12 men, which didn't help."
"We have got a lot to work on now but are looking forward to meeting them again in the semis, that's what we are building for now," Holland said.
Seagulls centre Tobin Cupples and winger Jeremy Walters got their side off to a flying side.
Cupples opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he crossed out wide and then Walters went in after a good pass from halfback Daniel Evans six minutes later.
To their credit, Cudgen battled back.
Halfback Troy Dickinovski scored a great try in the 25th minute when he ran the ball late in the tackle count.
Winger Joe Prichard, whose brother Tom was playing for the Tweed Heads Queensland Cup side, then scored three minutes before half-time to give the Hornets a 10-8 lead.
But in the last play of the half, Seagulls earned a penalty and Donovan was sinbinned for 10 minutes. Jay McDermott converted to make the halftime score 10-all.
With Donovan off the field, Mykel Hema and McDermott added two tries to give the Seagulls a healthy 12-point lead six minutes into the second half.
McDermott added his second, before second-rower Leeroy Faavesi and teenager Curtis Finn scored to put the Seagulls 36-10 up.
Donovan got his marching orders in the 70th minute, before Cudgen hooker Nick Mobbs scored a late consolation try for the Hornets.
SEAGULLS 36 (Tries, J McDermott 2, L Faavesi, C Finn, T Cupples, M Hema, J Walters; Goals, J McDermott 4) d CUDGEN 16 (Tries, T Dickinovski, J Prichard, N Mobbs; Goals, N Mobbs 2).
RESERVE: Seagulls 28 d Cudgen 16.
UNDER-18: Seagulls 34 d Cudgen 4.