In a tough and fiery contest befitting a match with a minor premiership on the line, the ATW Tigers outlasted the Hervey Bay Seagulls to win 12-6 in Hervey Bay on Saturday night.
ATW did well to hold the high-flying Seagulls to only one try in the first half, with the home team maintaining field position in the first half.
Both teams were determined not to back down, and several scuffles broke out, losing two players each to the sin bin.
A try to Chase Sutton and a conversion by Ben Hudson were the only scoring opportunities in the first half.
A quick two tries to ATW early in the second half poised the match on a knife’s edge, but the visitors could withstand repeated attacking raids from the Seagulls to secure the win, the minor premiership, and a week off in the first week of the semi-finals.
ATW coach Antonio Kaufusi was pleased to get the victory.
“We were lucky to get away only six down in the first half, and it was a big effort by the boys to hold them,” Kaufusi said.
Seagulls coach Jacob Blanke rued the ten minutes after half-time.
“We just lost focus for those ten minutes, and they capitalised. We need to re-group and get ready for Brothers,” Blanke said.
In other matches, Past Brothers defeated the West Panthers 46-12 to secure the third spot on the ladder and set up a semi-final match against Hervey Bay.
Wallaroos secured their second win of the season when they upset the East Magpies 48-18 in Maryborough.
This week East Magpies play West Panthers at Across the Waves at 3 pm on Saturday in the elimination final, while the Hervey Bay Seagulls and Past Brothers will follow at 5 pm, with the winner moving on to play ATW in the second week of the finals.
In Northern Districts’ action, the semi-finals begin this week with the Gin Gin Hawks playing the Avondale Tigers at Gary Larson Oval at 1 pm on Sunday before the Miriam Vale Magpies and SK Sharks clash at 2. 45 pm.