The Southport Tigers have powered home in the second half to hand Tugun a 48-16 defeat and storm into their second straight Coast-2-Coast Bycroft Cup grand final.
It was a tighter game than the final score indicates, but the Tigers went up a gear in the last 15 minutes to run away with it and stamp their authority as premiership favourites.
A tenth straight win earns the minor premiers next weekend off to prepare for the grand final on September 14.
There was plenty to celebrate for Tigers fans at Owen Park as Dean Vinson played his 100th game for the club and they qualified for the grand final in both first grade and reserve grade.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Tigers coach Steve Dowd said of having success in both grades.
“We’re club orientated here and having first grade and reserve grade both getting into the grand final is super. We’ll enjoy the occasion and the next two weeks as a big group.
“We won’t do too much different to what we did last year, but it’s a different calibre we’re dealing with. We’re a better side this year.”
While the game was in the balance for most of the 80 minutes, it ended up being a nine tries to three rout.
Halfback Drumayne Dayberg-Muir and fullback Mick Davis both scored doubles for the home side while Patrick Hunt, Jaziah Dawson, Jeremy Golf, William Namana and Tu Whakatihi all got on the scoreboard as well.
Plenty of Southport players made their mark, but it was halfback Dayberg-Muir in particular who caught the coach’s eye.
“Drummy was the difference in the whole game today. He was absolutely sensational,” Dowd said.
“The captain Timmy Cannard was inspirational as well and led from the front. Jaziah (Dawson) had a big game in the front row and I thought Willie (Namana) was really good as well in the centres.
“For a little while we went away from the football that we wanted to play, but we clawed our way back and finished the game really strong. Overall I’m very happy with the performance.”
While the Tigers get a weekend off to prepare for the grand final, Tugun have seven days to lick their wounds and bounce back for the preliminary final.
On Sunday September 7 they host the Bilambil Jets at Boyd Street. There is plenty of history between the two clubs with Bilambil defeating Tugun in 2011 grand final and Tugun eliminating the Jets from the finals in 2012 and 2013.
Earlier in the day Southport’s reserve grade side defeated Tugun 32-14 and Runaway Bay edged past the Burleigh Bears 17-16 in golden point extra time.
SOUTHPORT TIGERS 48 (D Dayberg-Muir 2, M Davis 2, P Hunt, J Dawson, J Golf, W Namana, T Whakatihi tries T Cannard 4, T Whakatihi, C Thomas goals) def TUGUN SEAHAWKS 16 (B Mauri James 2, C Moran tries V Buatava 2 goals) at Owen Park