Finals boost for Seagulls
HERVEY Bay's confidence has skyrocketed with the news player-co-coach Tyrone Hopgood and centre Brock Eldridge will return from injury in time for the start of the finals series.
The Seagulls duo have been named to play against Isis Devils in tomorrow's elimination final at Salter Oval, but there is still a question mark over hard-working second rower Anthony Lindeberg, who will undergo a fitness test today on his troublesome shoulder.
Hopgood, who will slot into the back row, aggravated a shoulder complaint during the Seagulls' two-point win over the Wallaroos in Round 16 of the Bundaberg Rugby League competition.
The Seagulls didn't seem to miss him too much last week, chalking up a 30-22 win over the Devils in their final regular season match.
But you only have to look back to his last game when he terrorised the Wallaroos with one of the most dominant individual performances this season to realise what a huge boost he'll be to the team.
"That will lift the team, especially having one of our captains back out there," Seagulls president Terry Lynch said.
"Tyrone had a blinder (against the Wallaroos).
"He took control of the game and we're hoping he can do the same again."
"If he can replicate that form, then the Devils have no chance."
But the Seagulls' hopes of progressing further into the finals series doesn't just hinge upon one player, as they've shown in the face of a crippling injury toll in recent weeks.
Young halves Sam Burns and Kurtis Everett have filled the void left by injured halfback and co-coach Mitch Yarrow and first-choice five-eighth Tom Freshwater, who has filled in at fullback at times in recent weeks.
Prop Darcy Horgan had his best game of the season against the Devils last weekend, but the unsung hero for Lynch was utility Ashley O'Donnell, who starred against his brother Robbie in the same game.
"He's a tough kid, very switched on and loves the Seagulls," Lynch said of O'Donnell, who switched to lock to replace the injured Tyson Woodman a few weeks ago. "He's played the full 80 minutes the last two games and scored a try last week, which was a good result against his brother."