Seagulls give QLD a winning edge
TWEED Heads Seagulls players starred as the Queensland Residents flogged New South Wales 32-6 in a State of Origin curtain raiser on Wednesday night.
Seagulls skipper Brad Davis took the reins of a Residents team that contained his club teammates James Wood in the centres and forwards Kayne Lawton and Ryan Simpkins on the interchange bench.
Three of them were lucky enough to score tries, with Wood the only one to miss out, not that he didn't go close on a number of occasions.
Their performances were timely reminders for the Titans coaching staff, as was a dominant two-try effort from Ipswich Jets player Luke Capewell.
Queensland coach Kevin Carmichael said halfback Davis and five-eighth Grant Rovelli were a vital cog in the game plan that dismantled New South Wales.
“The focus for us during the week was working on our kick chase, backed up with really solid defence in the next few tackles, and the boys executed that to a tee,” he said.
“Both the halves' kicking game was outstanding. We had a few little plays in place that helped us get down the other end quicker and then we worked really hard in tackles.
“It all worked out pretty much exactly how we wanted it to. We controlled the game well and our execution with the ball was top notch.”
Carmichael said the Tweed contingent of players were very good.
Wood was a handful for his three-quarter rival Dean Collis, a man with a fair NRL pedigree.
“James was very dangerous all nigh, and did his job well. His defence was strong and he came up just short of the try line on a couple of occasions,” Carmichael said.
The coach said Davis was a player he was keen to have in the team.
“He is a bloke with experience. He didn't complicate things and I knew he could execute a couple of special plays we wanted to do,” he said. “His kicking game and defence were solid. He's a very good footballer, and a very smart footballer.”
Davis described the atmosphere as phenomenal. As the Queenslanders started to open up with some attacking flair, including a try that passed through almost every set of hands, Suncorp Stadium filled with passionate Queensland fans and became electric.
For his part, Davis was happy to see his Seagulls teammates perform so well.
Lawton and Simpkins both got about 60 minutes of game time off the bench. Lawton came on as hooker, and was moved to the back-row when starting number nine Travis Waddell came back to the field.
Wood won his battle with Collis.
“Dean has played a fair bit of first grade and James really troubled him in attack and contained him well,” Davis said.
As part of the preparation, the Queensland Residents spent some time with the Maroons.
“We saw a fair bit of the Origin boys and had an opposed session and that was a really great experience. It was good to be part of that environment,” Davis said yesterday.
Each one of the representative quartet is expected to line up against Central Comets on Saturday night.