DISAPPOINTED by their FOGS Colts Challenge major semi-final defeat by Burleigh, the Redcliffe Dolphins will have their chance at redemption and then some when they face the Bears in this Sunday’ grand final.
The Dolphins booked their spot in the decider with an impressive 36-0 victory over Wynnum Manly in the competition’s penultimate game at Langlands Park last Sunday.
While there were strong performances across the park, centre Sam Leach scored a double for his team, while six goals from Josh Beehag further boosted their points tally.
They now meet a Burleigh side who have lost only one of their past 24 matches; a stretch which includes 14-point victories against the Dolphins in both round 23 and the first major semi-final.
The Bears enter the season finale fresh off a bye after their semi-final victory over the Dolphins; a break which coach Robert Campbell says could not have come at a better time.
“We had many blokes hobbling over the line at the end of that [Redcliffe] game,” he said. “[The week off] gave us a chance to freshen up.”
Campbell labelled his side’s preparation as “perfect”, and dismissed the idea that his side may start a little rusty despite playing only once in the last three weeks.
The coach said the key to his side winning the competition decider was to match Redcliffe’s forward pack.
“They have an excellent forward pack, and when they are playing well, their six and seven feed off that,” he said.
“We are not as big [in the forwards], but that doesn’t daunt us, we expect to win.”
This expectation to win is something Campbell has looked to instil in his side all year. After losing two of their opening three matches – including a 38-16 loss in round 1 to the Dolphins – the side found a way to come from 28-8 down to defeat Wynnum Manly in round four.
The coach marked this as the turning point in the Bears’ season, as it gave his side the confidence to know they could “win no matter how far down” they may be in a game.
If the Bears can get their desired result come Sunday afternoon, it will mark a stunning turnaround for a team which only two years ago finished the season with just three wins.
The Dolphins meanwhile will be looking to recapture the form that saw the side start the season with seven-straight wins, including that 22-point victory in the season opener.
They will also hope to have learned from last year’s grand final loss to Easts Tigers and go one better with a win over the minor premiers on Sunday.
Team Lists for the FOGS Cup grand final: 2014 grand final team lists