Walker returns for Gulls
THE feathers will be flying when the Tweed Heads Seagulls travel to Kougari Oval to take on the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in round 19 of the Queensland Cup at 2pm this afternoon.
Following Tweed's gutsy win over Burleigh last week, the side is now fifth on the Q-Cup ladder.
A win over Wynnum and some favourable results in other matches could see the Tweed move into fourth spot.
Co-coach Steve Lacey said the side had trained hard this week in preparation for the game, though call- ups of players to the Titans and injuries had forced changes to the side, especially in the forwards.
“We will move Richard Barrett to the front row alongside Brock Hunter, who has just been a stand out for us this year,” Lacey said.
“Hunter is a great workhorse, he gives us plenty of drive through his hit-ups and his defence is also very good.
“Barrett was solid against a very physical Burleigh pack last week and we will be bringing Kingi Akauola off the bench into the second row with Selasi Berdie.
“We have included Wade Grintell on the bench who is back from a stint overseas and he will give us some size and impact, while Tom Kingston is also back this week.”
Lacey will be hoping to shrug off a worrying pattern for Tweed that in their last few games they have finished the match with only 15 able players, losing both Daniel Conn and Ben Jeffery last week.
However, one welcome addition to the Tweed line-up in the backs is the return of Shannon Walker to the custodial position.
“Shannon has been working hard to return to the field after his injury in round five,” Lacey said.
“He was almost right to come back, but re-injured his hamstring and that has kept him out of action for all this time.
“Last week he played in the FOGS Cup and went well and is looking forward to being back in the Queensland Cup side.
“We don't expect too much form him, just a solid game at this stage.”
With Walker in the line-up, Tweed boasts one of the slickest backlines in the competition, but they know in the hostile environment of Kougari Oval, they have to show the same intensity they did last week to overcome the locals.
“The 'chook pen' at Wynnum can be a pretty noisy place but I think having the crowd against them can help lift the boys,” Lacey said.
“It's also a case of Wynnum Manly being a big, successful club and we would like nothing better than to knock them over - sort of the big brother, little brother thing.”
In other Queensland Cup games this weekend, Sunshine Coast hosts Easts, Souths Logan is home to Redcliffe, Norths Devils travel to Cairns to play the Northern Pride, Burleigh is home to Ipswich and Mackay hosts the Comets.