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At the beginning of the season, not many local footy pundits would have tipped Gaters to be one of the final four sides battling it out for a place in the grand final.

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But after eliminating ‘big brother’ Redcliffe last weekend, that's exactly where they find themselves.

The Sandgate-based club travels to Ipswich this weekend to take on the Jets in a preliminary final. 

And they're doing so with their minds on the job, according to coach Craig Rodgers.

“It doesn’t worry us what anyone thinks about us,” he said.

“We always believed what we can do, and it been shown in the boys’ efforts.

“They’ve been training the house down.

“Our main goal was to play finals footy … and here we are.”

The return of jack-in-the-box fullback Marlon Doak put the icing on another gritty forward performance against the Dolphins. 

Doak, back from Intrust Super Cup duties, picked up from where he left off earlier in the season.

The former Central Queensland Capras representative popped up all over the field, essentially acting as a third half.

With Gaters ahead 12-10 at the break, he chipped and regathered to score before setting up winger Adam Wickens minutes later.

They led 26-10 before the Dolphins mounted a surge and almost pulled off a remarkable comeback.

Two quick tries saw them reduce the margin to just six, forcing Gaters to draw on gallant goal-line defence in the final minute to hold on for the win.

“Of course you’re going to be nervous with the scoreline the way it was … but credit to our guys for the way they handled it,” Rodgers said.

Their preliminary final opponents had to fend off a similar revival from Wynnum Manly Redland City last weekend.

Ahead 20-6 at halftime, the Jets surrendered the lead in the second half before a late try to David Tahavalu got them home.

Newcastle recruit Jackson Tyan believes confidence within the club is at a high.

“A lot of teams struggle once we get a roll on,” he told The Queensland Times.

“If we muscle up in defence we proved last game we've got it all over them.”

Ipswich have won their two previous fixtures with Gaters this season, including a 28-6 win in Round 18.

But if they’ve proven anything throughout the season, you can ill-afford to take Gaters lightly.

In the other preliminary final, Wynnum Manly Redland City host local rivals Easts Tigers, who accounted for West Brisbane 28-18 last weekend.

Coach Jason Di Lizio said the club had been building over the past month and are primed for a shot at the decider. 

Easts look set to be without winger Brandon Downey, who has been named in the Tigers’ Intrust Super Cup side.

The teams have split their two meetings in 2015, with Easts claiming a 26-22 win in Round 2 and WMRC running away with a 52-4 result in Round 11.


Friday, September 11
Preliminary Final: Wynnum Manly Redland City v Easts Tigers at BMD Kougari Oval, 7.30pm

Sunday, September 13
Preliminary Final: Ipswich Jets v Gaters at North Ipswich Reserve, 11.30am