AN IMPRESSIVE defensive showing from the Redcliffe Dolphins paved the way for their 34-20 grand final victory over season rivals the Burleigh Bears at Suncorp Stadium today.
It was clear the Dolphins had emphasised defensive pressure early on, with the Redcliffe side rushing off the line to pressure the Burleigh ball carriers.
Minor premiers Burleigh enjoyed the better field position early thanks largely to a number of penalties, however the Dolphins held firm. Their first foray forward brought saw the opening points of the match, with a penalty in the ruck providing an opportunity for Josh Beehag to add the two points from directly in-front and give Redcliffe the early advantage.
The Dolphins extended their lead soon after, with Richard Skelton storming through two defenders on his way over the line. Beehag added the extras once more for a 10-0 Redcliffe lead. The Dolphins weren’t ready to stop there however, and when Tyson Gamble crashed his way through under the posts Redcliffe’s lead was out to 14 points.
It was only a matter of time before the minor premiers clicked into gear however. On the back of repeat attacking sets, five-eighth Sam Grant sold some candy and stepped through the defence to bring up Burleigh’s first points. Brett Stratton crossed with one minute to go in the half, sending Burleigh into the break only two points down.
The minor premiers came out after the break with a point to prove, starting far better than the first half.
A break down the left edge seemed destined for a Burleigh try, if not for an impressive cover tackle from Beehag to kill the play just metres short of the line. Burleigh would not leave without points however, and when Grant converted from a penalty the Bears had evened the ledger 14-14.
The Bears were forced to settle for another penalty goal attempt on their next forward entry, with the Redcliffe defence holding strong. With the Bears poised to take the lead for the first time in the match, Grant’s kick instead bounced off the upright and back into the field of play, where the Dolphins managed to recover.
This would prove to be the turning point in the match, with the Dolphins piling on the next three tries.
An impressive cut-out ball found Lui Tusa on the left edge, who chipped through the defence and regathered to put it down in the corner. Five minutes later and an errant tap by a Bears defender gave Rinsma Saueha the opportunity to recover and score untouched. Tusa’s second try was even easier, with the Dolphins identifying a two-on-one on the left hand side.
Burleigh left a number of opportunities begging toward the end of the match, with sloppy handling around the ruck proving costly. Grant kept the Bears in with a chance when the half weaved his way through the Dolphins defence to score next to the posts.
However it was not to be, with Beehag capping off a solo 14-point effort with a try down the left sideline to ice the game.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 34 (Lui Tusa 2, Josh Beehag, Rinsma Saueha, Richard Skelton, Tyson Gamble tries; Joish Beehag 5 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 20 (Sam Grant 2, Brett Stratton tries; Sam Grant 4 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.
Man of the Match: Richard Skelton (Redcliffe Dolphins)
Halftime: Redcliffe 14 - Burleigh 12
FOGS COLTS TEAM LISTS
Burleigh Bears: 1. Jayden Connors 2. Michael Wheeler 3. Brett Stratton 4. Rhys Duke 5. Scott Purvis 6. Sam Grant 7. Daniel Schwass (c) 8. Jake Hughes 9. Carne Rhodes 10. Tyler Sparkes 11. Josh Berkers 12. Hayden Schwass 13. Marino Allen 14. Talor Walters 15. Shem Vaoa 16. Jarrod Ross 17. Tim Wolens
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Josh Beehag 2. Lui Tusa 3. Sam Leach 4. Rinsma Saueha 5. Joshua Kerr 7. Mitchell Wilson 8. Nathan Watts 9. Hayden Hansen (c) 10. Andrew Hoggart 11. Kahi Harawira 12. Richard Skelton 13. Tyson Cleal 14. Tyson Gamble 15. Joshua Rudolph 16. Jeremy Skelton 17. James Webster 18. Mackenzie Reid