It is major and minor semi-finals time this weekend in the In Safe Hands Cup 2017 and either Redcliffe (minor premiers) or Valleys (3) will progress to the grand final on September 16.
However, either West Brisbane or Wynnum Manly will play their last 80 minutes for the year.
The Dolphins will host the major semi-final after a two-week break (a regular season last round bye) and they earned the first week off of finals footy for finishing the year on top.
Redcliffe last played on August 12 in Round 20 against the Panthers, winning 30-16.
Josh Rudolph and Hugh Pratt scored doubles along with prop Taylor Brown and they have been named again in coach Daniel Green’s 17.
The competition’s leading point scorer Kyle Van Klaveren has been named at fullback and will be leading a highly talented spine for Redcliffe, with Mitch Wilson and Hayden Hansen combining with the darting hooker in Pratt.
Their opponents Valleys are in top form, largely due to their defence. The Diehards spine is also blessed with talent, from the line-breaking Joe Bond at the back and the guile of hooker Chris Aiton.
The previous two starts for Valleys against the Seagulls and the Panthers have been impressive. On both occasions, their line held firm for the first 40 minutes while scoring three converted tries to lead 18-0 going to the sheds.
The line defence for both sides will be critical, as both have forwards capable of crashing over from less than 10m out.
The winner of this final will earn a spot in the grand final and the week off next week. It has the makings for a repeat thriller similar to their Round 1 clash, with Valleys securing victory over Redcliffe on fulltime with a conversion.
The Panthers will need to repeat what they did at the start of 2017 and win four in a row if they are to lift the In Safe Hands Cup. Every finals game is now sudden death. They have won two of their three encounters against the Seagulls, winning the last in Round 17, 38-20.
The Panthers have massive men up front with mobile back rowers that can score from anywhere in the mid-field. Jared Blanke and Ricko Koelbel have turned out for all of Wests games, 19 thus far, and would like to three more to that total.
The Seagulls have been guilty of allowing the opposition to get the jump on them, as Valleys did last week.
The Panthers did it also, before going try for try in the second half, Panthers winger Jamie Olds scoring four tries for the Wests to take the three completion points.
Coach Ron Troutman has named one of his strongest sides of 2017. This will not faze Panthers coach Wayne Weekes’ as he has said time and again, ‘We play what is in front of us”.
With oodles of talent out wide, it is the middle where they have the advantage.
The Seagulls defence needs to step up, particularly on the line after the Diehards muscled their way across in last week’s qualifying final.
Billy Solah and Paora Kemp return from Intrust Super Cup promotion, giving Troutman a pleasurable selection crisis, naming 19, with two to be omitted.
For one of these sides, it will be the last. For the other, the loser of the major semi-final will be waiting for them at Emerson Park next week.
IN SAFE HANDS CUP – FINALS WEEK 2
September 2, 2017
Minor Semi Final
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v West Brisbane Panthers at BMD Kougari Oval, Saturday, September 2, 2017 – 3pm.
West Brisbane Panthers
1. Adam Wickins 2. Paul Ulberg 3. Mitchell Hallinan 4. Kennedy Pettyborne 5. Jamie Olds 6. Kane Zalewski 7. Luke Strasser 8. Erik Koelbel 9. Aaron Watson 10. Jared Blanke 11. Ashley Harawira-Naera 12. Dominic Biondi 13. Ethan Marrinan 14. Shaun Tupou 15. James Sharkie 16. Josh Afoa 17. Troy Swift
Coach: Wayne Weekes
Wynnum Manly Seagulls
1.Paora Kemp 2. Benaiah Bowie 3. Mitchell McMillian 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Christian Mika 6. Hayden Crowley 7. Ben Cronin 8. Tanu Wulf 9. Corey Davis 10. Billy Solar 11. Brendon McBryde 12. Brad Mana 13. Josh Hoffman 14. Cody McIntosh 15. Kelly Tate 16. Andrew Clayton 17. Semisi Ahoafi 18. Jacob Paulo 19. Mitchell Ensby (two to be omitted)
Coach: Ron Troutman
Major Semi Final
Redcliffe Dolphins v Valley s Diehards at Kougari Oval, Saturday 2 September 2017 at 4pm
1. Kyle Van Klaveren 2. Curtis Johnston 3. Joe Bradley 4. Josh Rudolph 5. Shaun Rees 6. Mitch Wilson 7. Hayden Hansen 8. Taylor Brown 9. Hugh Pratt 10. Rulon Nutira 11. Agassi Stowers 12. Jaz Nahu-Main 13. Samson Graham 14. Sonny Munroe 15. Sam Leach 16. Ben King 17. Sheldon Pitama
Coach: Daniel Green
1.Joe Bond 2. Tom Collins 3. Ryley Kajewski 4. Greg Miglio 5. Stacey Everitt 6. Rowan Klein 7. Callum Klein 20. Dylan Smith 9. Chris Aiton 10. Liam Herrington 11. Jacob Kelly 19. Troyden Watene 13. Hayden Lipp 14. Aaron Clode 15. Dylan Mislov 16. Mattais Heimuli 17. Rajan Opetia-Halls
Coach: Don Gailer