Seagulls can fly without Walker
WITH fullback Shannon Walker banned this week after his clumsy high tackle in the last round, the Tweed Heads Seagulls will lack their artillery when they face up to Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup at Bishop Park.
Walker was given a grade-four ruling that could see him banned for up to five weeks, but coach Ben Anderson will defend his fullback on what he believes is an excessive grading.
“We maintain it was a careless tackle rather than a reckless tackle,” Anderson said.
“We’ll definitely be appealing that.”
Anderson said he was disappointed the team would be missing out on Walker’s X-factor but had full faith in replacement Ryan Milligan.
“Ryan played six (halfback) last week, he’s a bit of a utility,” Anderson said.
“His preference is fullback, so he should play really well. He’s a more than worthy replacement.”
Norths duo Mark Vaiao (dangerous tackle grade three) and veteran five-eighth Shane Perry (reckless high tackle grade three) were also placed on report following separate incidents in their round one match.
The Gulls pulled off an impressive win last week with Walker taken off the field after 12 minutes and both Kayne Lawton (concussion) and Will Matthews (hamstring) suffering injuries during the round one clash against Souths Logan Magpies.
“They got a lot of confidence from that victory,” Anderson said.
“Being down a few boys and still pulling it off was a really morale-boosting performance.”
Anderson said despite its confidence, the side would have to be at its best for tomorrow’s round two Queensland Cup clash against the Devils at 3pm.
“They’re aware Norths will give a really tough fight up there,” Anderson said.
“The Devils are coming off a loss, making them even more fired up.
“I’m sure the boys would rather be at home than away, but we have to face them twice regardless.
“It will be good to get this out of the way early and I think they’ll be keen to get stuck into it.”
Will Matthews, who came off last week with a hamstring injury, will be out of action again this week. Kayne Lawton, who suffered a nasty concussion, is still awaiting a doctor’s approval to clash with the Devils.
Anderson said although the injuries were setbacks, the depth of this season’s squad would ensure a strong line-up.
Michael Henderson will return to the Titans this week, replaced by Josh Starling.
“Josh looks like a real sharp kid, so I’m glad he’ll get to have a run,” Anderson said.
In another match tomorrow, Mackay Cutters face up to Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles at 2pm at Shark Park.
Today Redcliffe Dolphins play Easts Tigers at Dolphin Oval at 2pm, Souths Logans Magpies will contest Central Comets at Webb Oval at 4pm, Burleigh Bears will front Ipswich Jets at Pizzey Park at 5pm, and Northern Pride clashes with Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Barlow Park at 5:30pm.