Flintham made for Queensland Cup - Scott Minto
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ryan Flintham is made of stern stuff.
Days after his 18th birthday, his Yeppoon Seagulls side were unexpectedly and unceremoniously dumped from the A-grade premiership race.
While the surprise defeat left the visibly halfback upset, Flintham shrugged it off, returning to the under-20s, (where he played for most of the season) steering them to the title.
He turned in a man of the match performance at the weekend, guiding the Gulls to a 36-22 win over Norths Chargers.
Gulls under-20s coach Shaun Goode said his side produced a first half masterclass that was enough to see them through.
"It is a great end to the season. We were very clinical and had the rub of the ball," Goode said.
"Low mistakes and high completion. Our second half wasn't as good but we had done enough.
"Ryan was always going to feature for us (in the GF) as he has most of the year.
"He was superb. He brings a next level form of organisation. Always two plays ahead. We just look sharper with him on the field.
"He was very disappointed at missing out in A-grade but relished the chance to come back to 20s and turned it around."
Yeppoon's win was made even more impressive with Jake Jackson and Will Nevin missing out through injury. Goode said both forwards left a sizeable hole in their pack.
"They have been two of our best, very tough players with good defence," he said.
"Prop Maia Raihe has been exceptional all year, likewise with Denzel Wenitong and Baye Simpson. The whole squad has really stood up throughout the season."
Flintham is no stranger to grand final success. Less than 12 months prior, Flintham nailed the match-winning field goal for St Brendan's College to win the schoolboys competition.
But playing against men at 17 is a different kettle of fish.
A-grade coach Scott Minto knew his teenage sensation would handle the rigours of first grade.
He believes his playmaker has the ability for a lengthy career at Queensland Cup level.
"I have a really high opinion of him," Minto said.
"His main strength is that he takes 90% of his plays right to the line. He is fearless and playing against men at 17 is tough.
"Even some seasoned A-grade halves don't do that. Being willing to get hit after you pass the ball is a rare asset, it creates so much for the other players.
"He is tough too, he played through pair for St Brendan's last and kicked the field goal. He can go far."