FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Freakish Tweed Heads fullback Shannon Walker has proven the heartbreaker, with a try at the death to secure the Seagulls a tense 18-12 victory over Easts Tigers at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
With the scoreboard locked at 12-all and the match seemingly heading for a fitting draw, the ever-lethal Walker danced through some tiring Easts defence to post the match winner in the 79th minute.
In a gruelling contest on a wet track, the open exchanges were dominated by gritty defence before the Seagulls jumped to the lead thanks to a long range Walker kick return.
The slippery custodian ducked under the first line of tackers before showing enough pace to beat a gallant dive from Easts prop Liufau Hala, giving his side a 6-nil lead after 25 minutes.
Tweed Heads increased their lead to twelve points when hooker Kayne Lawton caught the markers napping in a performance that would have impressed the watchful eye of Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright.
Trailing 12-nil at the change of ends, the Tigers held an early second half Seagulls onslaught at bay and returned serve thanks to Elijah Niko, who latched on to an 80 metre intercept in the 49th minute.
Niko's four-pointer was the fillip Easts required and, when wholehearted winger Kev Stephensen denied a rampaging forward in a try saving tackle, the momentum had swung Easts' way.
The Tigers then drew blood via a dummying run from playmaker Matt Minto and a well-timed pass to support player Isaac Kaufmann. Minto's conversion from right in front levelled proceedings at 12-all.
With less than ten minutes left on the clock, both sides then took turns at taking ordinary field goal attempts, before it was left to Walker to put his stamp on the Seagulls sixth win in succession in what proved the last play of the match.
Easts will be left to lament a lack of killer punch in yet another heartbreakingly close defeat - their average losing margin in 2011 is a miserly 6.5 points.
They must now re-group before taking on fellow sole-game winners Central Comets at Langlands Park next Saturday.
Tweed Heads Seagulls - 18
Tries: Shannon Walker 2, Kayne Lawton
Goals: Brad Davis 3/3
Easts Tigers - 12
Tries: Elijah Niko, Isaac Kaufmann
Goals: Matt Minto 2/2
FOGS Colts Challenge
Tweed Heads Seagulls - 26 (Kyle McGregor 2, James Toole, Will Johnstone, Ed Murphy; Joel Munro 3 goals)
Easts Tigers - 14 (Jack Joass, Andrew Farrenden, Jeremy Tyree tries; Jack Joass try)