Classy Seagulls soar in grand final replay
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Yeppoon Seagulls made a huge statement on Saturday night, steam-rolling reigning champions Rockhampton Brothers in the grand final replay at Victoria Park.
The Seagulls ran in 10 tries in the 52-4 victory, with wingers Jamie Minto and Tully Wehmeier and workhorse forward Gavin Hiscox each scoring a double.
The experienced Jonathan Tavinor, who came in for injured skipper Sam Holzheimer, opened the scoring for the Seagulls in the fifth minute.
They raced to a 26-nil lead at half-time and ended their scoring spree with a try under the posts two minutes from full-time.
Brothers' heavy loss was compounded by injury concerns for Lachlan Norris (pectoral muscle) and Harrison Routley (knee).
Yeppoon coach Shaun Goode said it a solid team effort, and it was great to get a win on Brothers' home turf.
"We had good width across the patch, everybody just pushed up and played pretty well tonight,” he said.
"It was a good result for us but again it's only Round 4 and there's a long season to go.
"We were good in patches but we've still got a lot to work on in the middle of the field.”
Goode was impressed with his team's defence, and the way they dominated the ruck for the best part of the game.
He said he was surprised at the final scoreline, and conceded that Brothers were not up to their usual standard.
"I was surprised at how quickly we got away and I was surprised that they didn't come back a lot harder in the second half,” he said.
"It was a bit of an ugly win in patches... but a win here any time is a good win.”
Goode said Dean Blackman, Jared Owens and Parry Boland were among Yeppoon's best but he was glowing in his praise of young back rowers Sam Stibbards and Will Neven.
"Those guys have got their way into the side due to injury and there's no way they're giving up their spots. They were exceptional tonight,” he said.
Munns said the heavy loss was a "reality check” for his team.
"Yeppoon were exceptional tonight, they jumped us early and we just didn't recover.
"We knew that Yeppoon were going to be a step up in class and they were well and truly a step up in class.
"Their defence was really quick ... and they just hustled us out of it.
"They showed us just a little bit of what it will take to win it, to go back to back.”
Munns was sure his players would learn from the loss.
"We know where we've got to be and what we've got to do.
"The beauty of this is, and we all learnt it last year, you don't win premierships in April.
"We can bounce back from that and still give the comp a fair shake.”