Fitting tribute: Falcons' first win since Ackerman tragedy
A HOME crowd revelled in every second of the Sunshine Coast Falcons' 49-10 demolition of Tweed Heads yesterday, in what was the team's first win since the James Ackerman tragedy.
In the aftermath of the club's darkest moment, players, coaches and fans were able to smile again as the boys paid their best tribute to Ackers yet, recording their biggest winning margin in almost five years.
As if spurred on by the spirit of Ackers the Falcons looked like they were enjoying their football for the first time in weeks as they played with an unrecognisable freedom to take a 32-6 halftime lead.
Fullback Travis Robinson was relieved to put together such an amazing performance after everything they'd been through.
"We've been against it, but I think everyone was just raring to go," he said.
"It was really tough for the first couple weeks, but the boys really wanted to dig deep and play for Ackers.
"He played hard, the boys wanted to play hard and it was good to see it come off.
"There's always that missing place there but the boys are trying to pick up that extra effort he put out there."
Coach Glen Dreger said it was an outstanding feeling and he was just happy for his charges.
"We've been through some rough times," he said.
"It'll be with us forever and the club wants that to be around, and we want that as players and coaching staff.
"He's an outstanding bloke and we won't let that be forgotten."
Yesterday's performance by the Falcons was a clinic as Young Tonumaipea picked up a hat-trick after Sam Young crossed for the Falcons' first two tries of the game.
The win reignited their Intrust Super Cup finals hopes and Dreger said his team will head to Papua New Guinea next week with newfound confidence.
"No one has won over there yet but we'll be up for the challenge," he said.
Ackerman was knocked unconscious during a tackle in a state league match against Norths Devils in Brisbane on June 20. Two days later the forward had still not regained consciousness and died in hospital.