The grand final of the Gold Coast-Tweed Gen Z Employment Cup and Powrgard Cup will be played this weekend.
The consistent Tweed Heads Seagulls were kicked out of the running for the title last weekend as the Burleigh Bears progressed to Sunday's match against the Tugun Seahawks.
A Grade: Tugun Seahawks v Burleigh Bears
The Burleigh Bears earned their way into the Gold Coast-Tweed A Grade grand final, however the Tugun Seahawks will go in as the hot favourites to take out the shield.
Tugun claimed the A Grade grand final title in 2007 and 2013, while Burleigh were successful in 2012 and 2015. Both teams have grand final experience and did battle in the 2015 grand final.
Although the Bears took home the shield back then, the Seahawks have been dominant in the 2016 regular season.
A 28-10 win over the ladder-leading Tweed Heads Seagulls in the major semi-final saw the Seahawks take the fast pass to the grand final.
First year coach to the Seahawks A grade squad Martin Griese is hopeful of finding success with the team he has put together.
“I have enjoyed this season and collectively (the players) have adjusted to each other’s style, the boys to my coaching and myself to the boys.
“It is a good achievement to make the grand final, but (it is) also a stepping stone to our ultimate goal of winning the competition.”
Griese said the club has been a huge support and a greater achievement is winning the club championship.
“The team as a whole puts in effort week-in, week-out; from our forward pack to our bench players the team has shown there is no weak link,” he said.
“We got to where we are not because of one stand out player, but the whole team just individually doing their roles.”
Griese has been focused on building the team’s energy through the week and sticking to the basics.
“We need to just worry about us and to worry about our game plan, not who we are playing.”
Griese said the team had relaxed training week as he did not want to exhaust the players before the big game on Sunday.
Defeating the minor premiers Tweed Heads in the preliminary final 20-4, the Bears secured their spot for another chance to claim the title.
Although they are the winners of last year’s A Grade grand final, the Bears know they are the underdogs in 2016.
The Bears have lost two out of three games played against the Seahawks and while a grand final is completely different to the regular season, they will be in for one tough match.
Experienced Bears coach Matt Foster is in his second year coaching the A Grade squad and knows the Bears squad is the strongest it has been all year. However, they will need to work hard to claim a win in the decider.
“We need to focus on completions and have the same attitude, same hunger and same desire that we have had for the final series.”
The team line up is different from last year as players have moved between divisions and various injuries have occurred.
Captain and half back Jacob Grant has been the rock and positive influence that has helped drive the team through the year.
“[Grant] has the experience needed to order the team around the field and has been consistent through the season,” Foster said.
Marty Mitchell and Jason Bradfield were singled out as stand outs through the year, however Foster commended the performance and efforts of the whole team working together to reach the grand final.
Reserve Grade: Beaudesert Kingfishers v Burleigh Bears
Beaudesert have secured the first spot in the Gen Z Employment Reserve grade grand final.
Struggling to find their footing in the early parts of the season, the Beaudesert Kingfishers have truly changed their form to dominate the Gen Z Employment Cup reserve grade competition.
The Kingfishers are no strangers to the final series after appearing in the past five grand finals, and finished as runners-up in 2015.
Although coaching for more than 30 years, this is coach Keith Gee’s first year with the Kingfishers side.
“It has been a challenging year, but we have a great mix of young and experienced players.
“To get into the grand final is such a satisfying achievement for the club and praise to the boys for their efforts and attitude throughout the year, we know we will definitely be challenged and are in for one hell of a fight.”
After finishing the regular season in first position, the Kingfishers defeated the Burleigh Bears for a fast pass to the grand final.
“A week off for the boys will be good to mend the niggling injuries, but we will need to start the game stronger after we came out a little rusty with Burleigh,” Gee said.
The Kingfishers lost their first two games in the season, while the Bears finished fourth on the ladder.
The Bears have lost every game against the Kingfishers and will need to bring their top finals football to challenge the dominant side.
Taking the preliminary final into extra time, the Bears knocked out the Tugun Seahawks 32-28.
After that nail-biting finish, coach Wayne Forbes said his side would need to “play a different type of football” this weekend.
Forbes believes they have exhausted all of their “get out of jail free cards” and will need to play for the full 70 minutes of the match to give the Kingfishers a run for their money.
“It is an awesome feeling to get into the grand final and we have definitely earnt our way there”.
Forbes knows the hardest job and key to bring the shield home will be to have the right combination of players and to do his homework on Beaudesert.
“We have become a big family and is tough to single out one player because everyone has put in effort” Forbes said of the reason for his team success.”
Under 19: Southport Tigers v Bilambil Jets
The Southport Tigers have experienced a miracle in getting their Under 19 team into the grand final.
They defeated the Bilambil Jets in the major semi-final to head straight to the grand final.
Representative coach and now first year Southport Tigers mentor Mark Ross has tipped his hat to the club and gave special mention to President Tim Mahoney and Steve Dowd for their continuous support and drive for the team which struggled early to secure players.
“The culture at the club is just amazing and the support not only I received by the boys was just fantastic to see,” Ross said.
Ross has been in eight grand finals as a coach and is comfortable preparing the team for the big game.
“We need to be patient, disciplined and have respect for the game,” he said.
“We have a split 50/50 of Under 17 and Under 19 players who have really built as a team.
The Tigers finished as minor premiers and know the Jets will be tough competition.
“We just need to enjoy the week, don’t overthink the match and make sure we have a clear plan.”
In the regular season, the Tigers were only beaten by one team, that being their opposition in the grand final, the Bilambil Jets.
The Jets were forced to fight off Currumbin in the preliminary final after falling short 28-20 in the major semi-finals against Southport.
It was a close match in the preliminary final as the Jets scored right on the buzzer, defeating Currumbin 24-20.
The Jets are real contenders for the title as they only lost two matches in the regular season, both to the Tigers.
Like the Tigers, the Jets also experienced uncertainty at the beginning of the season as last year’s Under 19s players moved between FOGS Colt and A Grade.
Lacking a bit of direction coach Craig Rowles managed to recruit players to field a full Under 19 squad.
“We have good depth in the club and the Under 17 boys have done well to play up for us,” Rowles said.
Falling short to Burleigh in the 2015 grand final, the Jets have the finals experienced needed to take the title.
Good luck to all teams this weekend!
Sunday, September 11
A Grade: Tugun v Burleigh at Pizzey Park, 3pm
Reserve Grade: Beaudesert v Burleigh at Pizzey Park, 1pm
Under 19: Southport v Bilambil at Pizzey Park, 11am