Pictured: The minor premiership-winning Wattles Warriors (Photo couresty of Wattles Facebook page)
The season proper has finished for half the competitors in the TRL for season 2014.
Oakey, Pittsworth, Highfields, Valleys and Brothers will have to reassess their level of competitiveness and begin planning for season 2015.
The best team in the competition Wattles Warriors sealed the minor premiership some time ago but more importantly sent a message to the other finals hopefuls with a decisive last round victory over the only side to defeat the ladder leaders during the season. The Warriors won their last home game 54-16 over the Dalby Diehards.
The elimination final this Saturday pits country teams Warwick Cowboys, who finished fourth, against the Dalby Diehards who filled the remaining spot in the five team series.
A fortnight back the two sides clashed at Dalby with the home team running out victors 36-30. The fact that both sides finished on 17 competition points for the season illustrates how the close this clash should be.
All season the players and spectators have been waiting for the Berrigan brothers to fire for Dalby. It was no coincidence that Shaun Berrigan, the former Australian representative crossed for four tries in the recent clash against Warwick, earning the Hutchison Mug for player of the match. Good players excel when the stakes increase. Once again the season is on the line for both sides and Dalby will rely heavily on the Berrigan brothers and crafty halfback Asher Elemani.
Warwick on the other hand will welcome back playmaker Trent Achilles which should provide better direction for the side. Impressive English front rower Gary Ellery will once again stamp his authority on the match and his charges are the critical for Warwick’s go forward. Captain/Coach Jason Bradfield will be hoping this match will not be his swansong as he yearns for another opportunity to play. The match promises to be a great clash with Dalby favoured to move into the second week of the finals.
On Sunday we see the clash between Souths Tigers and reigning premiers the Gatton Hawks. Both sides have a win over each other in the premiership rounds, however on both occasions the losers were considerably under strength.
This time both sides should be able to fields their top sides with no excuses. The Tigers have been consistent without being convincing and the last round loss to Pittsworth was not the best preparation going into the finals.
The Hawks’ form this year has been either very good or extremely poor on occasions. The fact the Hawks have tasted success over the Warriors in the Madsen-Rasmussen trophy final this year must give them confidence. I lean slightly to the Hawks but both teams will need to improve to challenge for the title.