‘It meant a lot to the boys and it meant a lot to me’
Hooker George Grant scored a hat-trick of tries to help the Yeppoon Seagulls claim the Rhys Yore Memorial Shield.
The Seagulls ran out 38-24 winners over Emu Park in Round 1 of the 2021 Rockhampton Rugby League A-grade competition on Saturday night.
The teams were, for the first time, doing battle for the prized trophy named in honour of popular Yeppoon teenager Rhys Yore, who was killed in a single-vehicle crash in January.
Coach Shaun Goode said it was an emotional victory, and it was fitting that the first name etched on the trophy would be Yeppoon, the club where Rhys played his junior football.
“It meant a lot to the boys and it meant a lot to me,” he said.
“We’re very happy to get it in its inaugural year.”
Goode said Yeppoon had not played any pre-season trials, so Saturday’s game was basically their first together since their 2019 grand final win given the 2020 season was cancelled because of COVID.
“It was a pretty scrappy game,” he said.
“We started out well, completing our sets and sticking to our plan, but then we started to go away from that, and we let them back in with some silly mistakes.
“We did have the ability to come back to it, playing to our structures and our strengths.
“We were patchy, but the pleasing thing was that when we were good, we were very good.”
Goode said that Grant was outstanding, as was fullback Ray Ebsworth who was exceptional in attack and defence in his first game for the club.
Goode made special mention of opposing fullback Travis Field who put in a dynamic performance and was one of Emu Park’s best.
The Seagulls this weekend take on Rockhampton Brothers, who had a bye in the opening round.
“They’ll be good, they’re a strong club with a lot of depth,” Goode said.
“I’m not sure about our line-up just yet but I’d say it will be a 90 per cent unchanged team.”