NORTHERN PRIDE v TWEED HEADS
Saturday, September 17 – 2pm* Live on ABC 1
The grand final showdown the pundits were predicting in the later stages of the season has come one week early; with the Tweed Heads Seagulls and the Northern Pride facing off this weekend for the right to play in the premiership decider. The two teams – who finished one and two on the ladder – have been thrown into this crucial game thanks to the Wynnum Manly Seagulls who stunned minor premiers Tweed Heads with their 24-12 win last weekend. Wynnum Manly were able to contain Tweed’s dangerous forward pack, one of their keys weapons this year. The Northern Pride however were easy 30-6 victors over the Ipswich Jets at Barlow Park. Although they conceded the first try, they were then able to shut their opposition out of the rest of the match and will go into this game as favourites. It’s a remarkable turn-around of fortunes for Tweed Heads, who only a few weeks beforehand seemed certainties to feature on grand final day. However, back-to-back losses – their first loss of the season in round 22 against the Pride and then last week’s upset loss to Wynnum – has them in danger of stumbling at the final hurdle. Their quest to steady the ship this weekend against an ever-improving Pride has been made all the more difficult with a number of injuries picked up in their semi final loss. Aaron Cannings sustained a head gash, but has been named, as has Ryan Milligan who suffered a cork. Late inclusion Kayne Lawton re-injured his ribs, a setback which had previously seen him out of action for six weeks, while Will Matthews has not been named. However, Brock Hunter and Matt Hundy have been added to the line-up. Understandably, the Pride have made minimal changes to their line-up, with Hezron Murgha in for Mark Dalle Cort who injured his ankle.
Head-to-Head: Pride 4, Tweed 4
Head-to-Head Finals: First game
Finals Record: Pride played 10 (won 7); Tweed played 8 (won 3)
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v WYNNUM MANLY
Sunday, September 18 - 2pm* Live on ABC 1
The battle of the bayside teams is set to draw a huge crowd for this Brisbane derby clash. The Redcliffe Dolphins can thank their point-scoring star Liam Georgetown for their passage into the preliminary finals, with his clever goal-kicking proving the difference in a close 22-20 win over the Souths Logan Magpies last weekend. Both sides were desperate for the win, and even though it was the first of the semi final games to be played, they knew going into the match that it may turn out to be a do-or-die encounter. In the end, that’s exactly what it turned out to be – with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls mounting one of the biggest upsets in recent memory to topple minor premiers Tweed Heads. For the first time all year, Wynnum were able to select from a fully fit roster, with Sam Te’o and Matt Grieve both returning from rib injuries. Both the Dolphins and the Seagulls have made no changes to their successful semi final sides, and with the belief in each camp high, it’s difficult to say who is best placed to go through to the grand final. Heading into the finals series, Wynnum were seen as outsiders, having finished in sixth position. However, their strong performance last week has made people sit up and take notice, and Redcliffe will not make the mistake of taking their opposition lightly. Statistically, Redcliffe hold the advantage, with the Seagulls having only won two of 15 Queensland Cup games played against Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval, the venue for this Sunday’s game. On top of that, no team from below fourth has made a Queensland Cup grand final before. However, there have been two teams who have made it from fourth, which have been the premiers of the past two years – the Pride in 2010 and the Sunshine Coast in 2009.
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 23, Wynnum 8, Drawn 2
Head-to-Head Finals: Redcliffe 3, Wynnum 0
Finals Record: Redcliffe played 39 (won 26); Wynnum played 13 (won 5)