The crowd at Ron Stark Oval on Stradbroke Island were treated to an entertaining game of football, with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls outpointing the Souths Logan Magpies to claim a 40-32 win.
Missing a number of their key middle forwards, the Seagulls did not look the same dominant force they have been in recent weeks with key contributors Tanu Wulf, Brendon Gibb and David Stagg out and in-form front rower Aaron Rockley leaving the field early through injury.
Their absences forced coach Jon Buchanan to test the depth of the 2014 Club Champions against a team fielding one of the brightest young talents in rugby league.
Souths Logan’s halfback Ashley Taylor was the focal point of the Magpies’ persistent attacking effort as his side posted up the most points against Wynnum Manly in a single game this season.
The highly touted Brisbane Bronco’s combination with veteran Phil Dennis and Papua New Guinea international Josh Damen gave the depleted Seagulls’ side real concerns in a match heavy on points.
Yet the Seagulls had just enough firepower to grab the two points as their explosive left edge recorded six of their seven tries.
Winger Greg Eden finished with a hat-trick, a double went to back-rower Mitchell Frei, centre Mitchell Buckett nabbed a try and half Patrick Templeman pulled the strings with five try-assists.
The Seagulls raced out to a 22-0 lead in as many minutes and it looked like it would be a miserable day for Souths Logan early in the match.
But tries to prop Aotealofa Tuimavave and Taylor halted their momentum, bringing the Magpies back to 22-10.
Taylor made the most of a bad read in defence as he swept out the back of a Dennis pass to go 20m untouched for the score.
Wynnum Manly centre Matt Grieve would then post his second try for the day as the score was 26-10 at halftime.
After the break, the Seagulls were again guilty of poor defensive decision making, allowing Dallas Anderson to score in a long shift play to the right.
Ten minutes later, Eden picked up his third from a long cut-out ball by Templeman.
However, back-to-back tries to Damen put the Magpies within striking distance at 32-26.
The winger’s second try had the Souths Logan fans out of their seats as Taylor on the last tackle flicked the ball back inside to Damen who then brought his side within a converted try.
With the game in the balance, Templeman stepped up to the plate and laid on two tries to Frei and Buckett to see off a Magpies’ chance at victory.
Back-rower Scott Doyle collected a try in the last minute for the match to finish at 40-32.
Templeman received the Lionel Morgan medal as man of the match, whilst Wynnum Manly half Matthew Seamark and Damen collected Ethan Stephens’ Memorial awards for their performances.
Sunday afternoon was the second annual Indigenous Recognition Match for Wynnum Manly on North Stradbroke Island as Deadly Choices and Redland City Council combined in sponsoring the match which also celebrated Indigenous culture and achievement.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 40 (Greg Eden 3, Matthew Grieve 2, Mitchell Frei 2, Mitchell Buckett tries; Matthew Seamark 4 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 32 (Josh Damen 2, Dallas Anderson, Ashley Taylor, Aotealofa Tuimavave, Scott Doyle tries; Scott Doyle 4 goals) at Ron Stark Oval, North Stradbroke Island.