SUNSHINE Coast coach Dave Cordwell could only think of positives after the Sea Eagles pushed 2011 grand finalist Tweed Heads to the limit before losing 7-6 in a dour clash at Stockland Park yesterday.
The Sea Eagles might have lost for the second time in three rounds in this season's Intrust Super Cup, but Cordwell spoke as if the side had won.
After seeing his side dispose of Souths Logan last weekend and restrict the Seagulls to one try yesterday, the upbeat coach believes the Coast has proved it is the real deal.
"We've got a gutsy football team on our hands. That's pretty much what I took out of it (yesterday's game)," he said.
"I said the same thing when we played CQ (Central Queensland). We lost the football match, but we're going to be competitive this year.
"I wasn't really fazed (by losing that match). Just like I'm not today.
"They just proved a point to me that they're a gutsy football side, and they've got a big future for the rest of the season."
In an era where attacking football rules, yesterday's clash was a throwback.
Amazingly, neither side managed to score a point in the first half. That changed nine minutes into the second stanza when Coast winger Dale Middleton, one of the Coast's best yesterday, scored after his opposite number, Tom Merritt, dropped a high ball close to the Seagulls' tryline.
Middleton pounced on the loose ball and raced over to score.
He then slotted the conversation to give the home side a 6-0 lead.
With 16 minutes left in the match, the Seagulls drew level when prop Michael Henderson charged over the tryline from close range.
Five-eighth Beau Henry added the extras to make it 6-6.
With five minutes remaining in the match, Seagulls halfback Brad Davis coolly slotted a field goal to hand the visitors a hard-fought win.
Cordwell believes the Sea Eagles have shown themselves to be legitimate semi-final contenders.
"Obviously, that's the goal, but it's a week by week proposition and certainly we want to figure in the semi-finals," he said.
"Today we proved that we can get to the semis.
"Today we proved that we can also compete in the semis. We proved a lot today."
He added: "I think keeping Tweed to one try on a fast track will make most clubs sit up and take a little bit of notice."
The Sea Eagles played most of the match with 16 players after prop Martin Cordwell injured his knee.
Cordwell will have scans to determine the severity of the injury.
The man of the match for the Coast was second-rower Jaz Nahu-Main.
TWEED HEADS 7
(M Henderson try; B Henry con; B Davis FG)
SUNSHINE COAST 6
(D Middleton try and con)