Seagulls fly to grand final glory
THE Under-11 Bowen Seagulls put the cherry on top of a near-perfect season after clinching grand final spoils recently in Townsville.
The victory marked the end of a month-long road trip for the squad, which closed the season by winning their last four games on the trot to secure the premiership.
Seagulls coach Aaron Motto said it was the first grand final win for the club in five years.
"It was a great feeling, we were pretty confident going in because our form had been good,” he said.
"But we knew they were the premiers from last year so we didn't take them lightly.”
Things looked promising early with the side jumping out to a 16-4 lead in the first half against the Upper Ross Rams.
But the Seagulls' resilience was tested after the break when prop forward Cooper Fletcher was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw.
The team persevered, led by North Queensland schoolboy second-rower Enilika Sabelio, and held on to record a famous 20-16 triumph.
Coach Motto said Fletcher was instrumental in victory which saw him named best on ground despite only playing one half of football.
"Our forward pack was dominant, and Fletcher and Sabelio really led from the front,” he said.
"We lost a bit of go forward after Fletcher went down but we hung in there and won.”
The win marked the culmination of two years of hard work according to Motto, who said the side has played together since Under-9s.
After knocking on the door of the final last season, Motto said this year it all came together.
"We only lost five games last year and this season we sort of just clicked as a team,'' he said.
"The boys are well behaved and well disciplined. They don't argue, they always turn up to training ... they are a great bunch.”