Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup Grand Final Day: Sunday, September 13 at Pizzey Park
3pm: Burleigh Bears v Tugun Seahawks (A-Grade)
The two best teams in the Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup have made it through to what promises to be an excellent grand final. The Bears and Seahawks are traditional rivals who always bring out the very best in each other. The Burleigh Bears will start favourites having racked up 13 straight wins in an incredible run of form. Their only loss of the season came in round three against the Seahawks, but come Sunday that loss will be 20 weeks and 140 days old. During their run of wins they have averaged 47 points per game as they have run rough shot over the rest of the competition. With the likes of Shaun Maloney and Francis Veukiso laying an impeccable platform upfront allowing the likes of Queensland Rangers representatives Khan Ahwang and Jamie Anderson to cause mayhem in the backs, the Bears have been virtually untouchable for five months. The scariest thing about Burleigh is that they continued to improve as the season went on and they appear to be hitting their peak coming into this weekend’s grand final. They’ve been dominant and will start favourites, but, fittingly, the only team that has given them trouble this year will be standing on the other side of the field this Sunday. The Tugun Seahawks are an institution in local rugby league. Sunday will mark the fifth consecutive grand final coach Selwyn Apanui has led his beloved Seahawks to. Their heart and winning culture is undeniable and if anybody can unsettle Burleigh on the biggest stage it is Tugun. Round 13 was a blowout, but the Seahawks have troubled Burleigh in all of their other meetings this season. Tugun are able to match the Bears with the likes of Robert Apanui, Chris Hodges and Nick Harrold through the middle while they have plenty of strike thanks to dangerous halves Keanu Te Kiri and Drumayne Dayberg-Muir. Experience will also be on their side against a young Burleigh team. Their team is dripping with grand final and premiership winning experience that Burleigh’s immensely talented side can’t match. They’ll be up against it; the Bears have proven their class repeatedly this season, but the older heads in the Tugun line up know Burleigh’s regular season dominance will be forgotten if they conjure victory on Sunday afternoon.
Major semi-final: Burleigh 38 def Tugun 20
Round 13: Burleigh 50 def Tugun 10
Round 10: Burleigh 30 def Tugun 28
Round 3: Tugun 37 def Burleigh 30
1pm: Beaudesert Kingfishers v Tugun Seahawks (Reserve Grade)
Beaudesert’s return to the top-tier has been one of the year’s most interesting stories. They dominated the Powrgard Cup in recent years, with premierships in 2012 and 13 before finishing runners-up last year. A move up the ranks was a welcome sight in 2015 and they have delivered beyond even their own expectations. They finished the regular season in third place with nine wins and seven losses before rolling through both Burleigh and Tugun in the finals series to book their place on Sunday. Tugun have been the dominant force in reserve grade this year, but Beaudesert have managed to get a result in two of their three meetings this year with a win and a draw. Crafty halfback Jeremy Papworth plays behind a big pack and with confidence on their side the Kingfishers will fancy their chances on Sunday. Standing in their way are the Tugun Seahawks, whose only loss of the season came two weeks ago in the major semi-final. They’ve set the standard with 15 regular season wins built on the best defensive stats in the competition. That defence was on display again in the preliminary final as they withheld relentless attacks from the Burleigh Bears to hang on to a tight win. Led by back-rower Dave Ipo, the Seahawks will be looking to right the wrong of their previous defeat and that will be built on brutal and committed defence.
Major semi-final: Beaudesert 22 def Tugun 18
Round 14: Tugun 28 def Beaudesert 6
Round 4: Beadesert 12 drew Tugun 12
11am: Burleigh Bears v Bilambil Jets (Under 19s)
Much like their A-Grade club mates, the Bears have dominated the under 19s division. In fact, their winning run is even longer than the A-Grade winning streak with 16 consecutive wins stretching back to round two when they lost to Bilambil. With players moving in and out of the side due to Mal Meninga Cup and FOGS Colts commitments throughout the season, it really is a remarkable achievement that they have managed to be so consistent this year. They’ve settled on a regular side over the last couple of months and the results have been some of their best wins of the year. Steered around by a very good spine of Tyler Thomas, Josh Rogers and Liam Wyper, the young Bears have knocked over the Jets in their last two appearances and have earned the right to start favourites. That tag is unlikely to bother Bilambil, though. As a club they are used to being the underdogs and achieving beyond what people think they are capable of. They’ve done it all season, and actually led the competition all the way until round 16. They lost their last two regular season games but were unbeaten all season prior to that. They are not the biggest side in the competition but they are one of the bravest, as they proved once again in the preliminary final. Against a big Runaway Bay outfit that had all the momentum in the second half, the Jets dug deep and found a way to win thanks to a 60 metre solo try to halfback Dan Wilmott. If the Jets can stay in the fight for 80 minutes, there is no reason to think they aren’t capable of pulling off something similar this Sunday.
Major semi-final: Burleigh 30 def Bilambil 16
Round 17: Burleigh 26 def Bilambil 18
Round 2: Bilambil 36 def Burleigh 28
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