The FOGS Colts Challenge season will come to an end for either the Easts Tigers or Sunshine Coast Falcons when the two sides meet on Sunday in the elimination final at Kawana.
Despite dominant performances early in the season – including a 23-16 win when they last met this weekend’s rivals in Round 8 – Sunshine Coast coach Mick Buckley insists past performances mean nothing to his side.
However, the Falcons are coming into the game in good form, having defeated the Western Mustang 30-18 last weekend.
“It just has to be another week; looking to the past means nothing for us, so we’re looking forward and taking it game by game,” Buckley said.
With plenty at stake, Buckley said the two biggest keys to the winning the game would be possession and “winning at the coalface”.
“Our biggest issue is holding the ball; if we can hold the ball, we can score from anywhere in the park, we have that ability,” he said.
“Completing sets and wearing their big guys down will be huge.”
Wearing down that big Easts forward pack holds the key to slowing down halfback Nathan Brown who finished the regular season in third place for in total points scored with 120.
“They’re a huge side, but Brown can’t dominate if we stop their big front from getting a roll on,” Buckley said.
“We’ll be sending a lot of inside pressure, but it absolutely starts at the front.”
The Tigers come into this match following an impressive win over Burleigh in the final round where they were able to keep their opposition scoreless – something a coach loves to see.
Like Easts, both the Falcons FOGS Colts and Intrust Super Cup teams qualified for the finals, with Buckley saying this would be a huge weekend for the club.
“It’s massive, this is where every club wants to be at the pointy end of the season and it just shows both sides have worked so hard all year,” he said.
Buckley was particularly excited by the homegrown talent making up the roster, including this season’s FOGS Colts Player of the Year award winner Stephen Buckley – who also happens to be his son.
“He’s a really humble kid that just continues to work hard,” Buckley said.
“He never made any rep sides or anything, but just stuck with it.
“He understands that it’s all about the little things and doing whatever it takes to help the team.”
The lead-by-example forward will be one of the players to watch come Sunday.
For the Tigers, it will be a tough trip to take on the Falcons who will enjoy the support of the home crowd.
However, they come into this game having won two games on the trot – and they will be looking to push continue that streak for one more week for the right to play the loser of qualifying final also being played this weekend between the Redcliffe Dolphins and Tweed Heads Seagulls.
The second-placed Dolphins posted a massive 90-0 win over Ipswich in their final round game, while the Seagulls were pushed by the Magpies in their Round 16 game before securing a 36-22 result.
A major semi-final game against minor premiers the Norths Devils awaits the winner.
Follow all the scores for this weekend’s FOGS Colts Challenge games at QRL Live: