Grand final prize for Yeppoon
The Yeppoon Seagulls defeated an understrength Brothers outfit 44-22 in their Qualifying Final clash at Rockhampton's Browne Park on Saturday, to book themselves a place in the A-Grade Grand Final on September 13.
Squaring off for the second time in seven days, the Seagulls were able put the disappointment of last week's loss behind them and reassert themselves as the competition's benchmark side.
Going into the game without an established halfback, following the controversial suspension of first choice playmaker Ryan Burke, the Brethren wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, when speedster Riley Norris caught Yeppoon off-guard to score inside the first two minutes.
This seemingly sparked the 'Gulls into action and they made the most the cheap possession they were granted and ran in four first half tries - skipping to a 22-4 lead.
However a crafty piece of play just prior to the break saw brothers hooker Grant Rogers dive over to keep his side within reach and reduce the margin to 12 points.
Both sides got into the arm-wrestle in the early stages of the second half and just when it looked to be developing into a game decided by minor points, the floodgates opened as both sides began chancing their hand and displaying a free flowing style of play to go try for try.
Tries to front row forward Alex Choice and winger Jonus Pearson kept Yeppoon in front, while a further two tries to Grant Rogers managed to again keep Brothers within 12 points.
However that was as close as they would get, with Seagulls halfback Blake Wallace taking control to score his second for the night and assisting to put fullback Jay Stafford over and put the icing on the cake.
The Elimination final was played between Biloela Panthers and Norths Chargers and was played at electric pace. Desperate to keep their season alive, both sides adapted an all out attacking style of play, but it was the Chargers who ran winners 30-24.
Norths were first to trouble the scorers when five-eighth Clint Mooney sold a dummy to break the line and score untouched, before workhorse back rower Brent Williams extended the lead to 10 points.
The Panthers were desperate to hit back and with fullback Cam Curtis looking dangerous with ball in hand, they didn't have to wait long as he put a hard running Casey Rogers over next to the posts before firing a bullet-like long ball for centre Paul Steele to score in the corner and put them within 2 points at the Break.
A line break and 40m runaway try to barnstorming chargers back rower Mitch Cocks extended their lead, but Biloela were quick to counter with two tries of their own. Centre Karl Stevens crashed over, while Paul Steele picked up his second to put the Panthers in front 18-16.
The lead changed several times in the final 20 minutes, but it was the experience of Brent Williams and the new-found confidence of halfback Dean Allen, following his recent call up to the CQ Capras, that steadied the ship and delivered the goods for the Chargers.
For the Panthers, it's curtains for season 2014 as they ponder what could have been, while the Chargers live to fight another day and will take on defending premiers Brothers for the right to play Yeppoon in the Grand Final.
Elimination Final: CQU Norths 30 def Biloela 24.
Qualifying Final: Yeppoon 44 def Brothers 22.