It’s seems fitting that the top two Brisbane Rugby League teams will fight it out for the premiership.
Minor premiers Wynnum Manly Redland City Seagulls and Ipswich Jets will go head-to-head for the BRL silverware at Tapout Energy Stadium.
Along with their Intrust Super Cup side, who are within one game of the grand final, Ipswich have been one of the entertainers of the competition.
However, questions were raised over whether their unique ball-in-hand style would be suited to the rigors of finals footy.
Coach Mark Bishop says those suggestions should now be ditched.
“If we don’t hang on to the ball everyone says it looks terrible, but if you just want to take four hit ups and then drop it – it looks pretty terrible as well,” he said.
“We probably have a little higher risk with the way we promote the footy, but that’s the only real difference.”
While the Cup squad has honed their skill over the past few seasons under Ben and Shane Walker, Bishop has essentially moulded his squad in one pre-season.
“Earlier in the year we just wanted to pass it at all costs. That seemed to be what the boys thought the style was but it’s not.”
“It’s a matter of building some pressure and making the opposition go up and back.
“When you show them on the video, you can see the energy drain out of other teams and you see them struggling to maintain their line – that’s what were about.”
But the tactics matters little if you don’t have the players to carry out the game plan.
Ipswich halves Chris Ash and Haydan Lipp have formed an outstanding combination, with the latter earning an ISC debut.
Lipp and Ash are aided by starch and size in the middle, something they’ll require against a powerful Wynnum Manly Redland City 17 with plenty of strike of their own.
Minor premiers, the Seagulls play a more traditional power game to create space for a blistering backline.
Grafton signing Mitch Lollback has proven a revelation at fullback, while David McKenna and Jeriah Goodrich offer speed on the flanks.
While the Jets ran away with a 44-16 win over Gaters to qualify for the finals, it took a golden point Lachlan Bristow penalty goal to get the Seagulls past Easts 30-28 in the preliminary final.
Coach Ron Troutman said the late escape has steeled his side for another eighty minute – and possibly longer – performance.
“It’s a good thing to build on … it’s proven that we can certainly handle it,” he said.
“Defensively I was very impressed with the boys.”
The two sides met in the first week of the finals with Ipswich holding on for a 32-24 victory.
Bishop perhaps best summed up the mentality of both teams.
“We’ll let the footy flow and see what happens – it’s about giving 100 per cent and not leaving anything out there.”
HEAD-TO-HEAD THIS SEASON
Round 7: Wynnum Manly Redland City 30 def Ipswich 26
Round 16: Ipswich 42 def Wynnum Manly Redland City 20
Finals Week 1: Ipswich 32 def Wynnum Manly Redland City 24
Rugby League Brisbane Grand Final Day – Saturday, September 19:
Women’s Division 2 Waterford v Toowoomba – 11am
Under 18 Nev Blair Shield – Springwood v Redcliffe– 12.30pm
Women's Division 1: Souths v Burleigh – 2pm (live stream QRL.com / Seagulls TV)
Brisbane Rugby League presentations – 3.30pm
BRL A Grade Grand Final – WMRC Seagulls v Ipswich Jets – 4pm
(live streamed on QRL.com.au / Seagulls TV)
Under 16 FREE