Runaway Bay break 13-year title drought
Runaway Bay Seagulls claimed their first A Grade premiership since 2005 by defeating the Tweed Heads Seagulls 36-10 in the Rugby League Gold Coast QTOP A Grade grand final.
Bay avenged their loss in the 2017 decider with an emphatic display of speed and power led by five-eighth James Poland who was awarded player of the match.
Poland, who was outstanding in the halves, was the beneficiary of a monster forward pack who controlled the majority of the physical contest and got to their feet and played the ball very quickly throughout.
That physicality allowed the spine of Poland, hooker Jenan Parrish, halfback Conner Toia and fullback Jack Mackin to take control and construct many of their six tries.
Mackin crossed for a double, while Poland and Parrish both scored tries of their own. They were joined on the scoresheet by interchange forward Kimihia Pakipaki-Hemopo and Queensland Rangers centre Jamie Anderson.
It was one of Bay's best performances of the year, as they led 16-4 at halftime and went on with the job in the second half.
Tweed Heads, playing their last game in the Rugby League Gold Coast competition before a club restructure sees them withdraw next season, were valiant in defeat and were desperate to make their final impression a winning one - but were unable to combat the physical Runaway Bay side.
Winger MacAuley Dawson and second-rower Kirk Murphy crossed for tries either side of halftime, but more often than not, the Tweed Heads attack was thwarted by some brutal Bay defence.
It was a breakthrough win for the Bay, who have broken a 13-year premiership drought and erased the pain of last year's grand final loss.
It was perhaps also a turning point in the power dynamic across the entire competition.
Since Bay's last premiership in 2005, all but one of the next 12 Gold Coast grand finals were won by the Burleigh Bears (four times), the Tugun Seahawks (three times) or the Southport Tigers (four times).
In 2018, the Tigers and Seahawks were eliminated in the first two weeks of the finals while the Bears missed the top five altogether.
Instead, the standard bearers were grand finalists Bay and Tweed along with minor premiers the Currumbin Eagles.
With Tweed leaving the competition next season there is sure to be more change to come, but the likes of Bay and Currumbin have already made clear they are here to stay and intend to remain the competition's powerhouses.
Earlier in the day Mudgeeraba won the reserve grade grand final 20-10 over Currumbin while Currumbin were victorious in the Under 19 final, 34-20 over Southport.
2018 Rugby League Gold Coat grand final results
QTOP A Grade Competition
Runaway Bay Seagulls 36 (Jack Mackin 2, Jamie Anderson, James Poland, Jenan Parrish, Kimihia Pakipaki-Hemopo tries, Jake Powell 6 goals) def Tweed Heads Seagulls 10 (MacAuley Dawson, Kirk Murphy tries, Rex Johnson goal)
2018 QTOP DLC Reserve Competition
Mudgeeraba 20 def Currumbin 10
2018 QTOP U19 Competition
Currumbin 34 def Southport 20