Tugun tumble to rare defeat
By ADAM WRATTEN
IT just wasn't Tugun's day yesterday as last year's Gold Coast Group 18 rugby league premiers suffered their first home loss in almost 18 months.
Tugun players battled hard but things didn't click as the Seahawks lost 24-10 to Norths in their Mixwell Cup clash at a windy Boyd Street Oval.
Frustrated by a penalty count that for most of the game was two-to-one in favour of the visiting team, and final passes going astray, Tugun coach Craig Briscoe praised his players' effort.
"Norths were all right, but they were no better than us on our day," Briscoe said.
"I don't think they beat us, we beat ourselves.
"The players were frustrated, (but) I was really proud of them, the way they stuck together at the end."
Briscoe picked out fullback Shane Joyce, front-rower Aaron Zimmerle, who scored two tries, and hooker David Skuse as his side's best on the day.
"I had a chat to him (the referee) at half-time and I said "look mate we can't be that undisciplined", they were doing exactly the same thing we were doing," Briscoe said.
"While I think some of the penalties were warranted, I think he (the referee) ruined a good game of footy to tell you the truth."
Cheered on by a crowd of about 400 people, Tugun kicked into a strong wind in the first half.
They fell behind in the seventh minute to a try from speedy Norths winger Derek Fletcher.
Norths, feeder club for NRL outfit Melbourne Storm, then put a second try on the board when Scott Anderson crossed, after his side was able to piggyback its way up the field on the back of two penalties late in the count.
Tugun, who had chances of their own to score, found themselves 18-0 down shortly before half-time after Norths' classy five-eighth Paul Robinson set up Nathan Turner.
Tugun looked to be a strong chance when Zimmerle broke through Norths defence for the first of his two tries early in the second period and when Luke Archer added the extras the score was 18-6 with half an hour still to play.
But, when Norths' Curtis Franks scored 10 minutes later, again after Tugun had been penalised, the Seahawks had a mountain to climb.
Zimmerle crossed again with 15 minutes to go when he was able to beat his man to score.