The Sunshine Coast Falcons are through to this year’s Intrust Super Cup grand final after outplaying the Redcliffe Dolphins 40-14 in their preliminary final at Dolphin Oval yesterday.
Sunshine Coast coach Craig Ingebrigsten devised a plan for his team and they delivered it with aplomb.
The Falcons moved the bigger Dolphins pack around with lots of quick ball movement and bodies in motion and, as they had done a week earlier against the Tigers, they simply out enthused their opposition.
They knew the Dolphins were coming off a tough and physical encounter against the Hunters and that they would likely be still hurting.
Falcons big men Joe Stimson and Tui Kamikamica were outstanding for the Falcons and they repeatedly ran into space on the edges, displaying the potent combination of speed, strength and skill both are becoming renowned for.
The try to Ryley Jacks in the 73rd minute was the result of brilliant individual work where he took the ball to the line in two hands, dummied and burst through to score.
However, much credit must go to Stimson who was running into a hole one wide of his half and looked like a perfect target for a pass.
Both men were part of what was undoubtedly the try of the match, scored by Stimson in the 25th minute.
Jacks took the ball to the line hard, before finding Guy Hamilton, who found Justin Olam who in turn found Jeremy Hawkins. Stimson was trailing in support on the inside and was the recipient of what can only be described as a magnificent pass from Hawkins.
Jacks thoroughly deserved the XXXX Man of the Match award, however there were stars across the field for the Falcons.
His halves partner Scott Drinkwater was constantly dangerous and again displayed his fantastic kicking game; while Guy Hamilton was another potent kicking option from the back.
He contributed a sublime second half 40/20 and was another player of the match contender.
Storm-contracted back Jahrome Hughes did make the trip up from Melbourne for this and Ingebrigsten may face a tough decision later in the week if he returns to the squad.
While it was the Falcons day, the Dolphins tried hard, but were noticeably tired following their intense match against the Hunters.
When Redcliffe coach Adam Mogg inserted Tyson Cleal in the 28th minute, there was a visible lift in intensity in the ranks and, apart from the opening minutes of the game, they had their best spell of the match.
Cleal delivered some thundering tackles and noticeably boosted his team in defence and attack.
Myles Taueli, Christian Hazard and Matt Lodge all tried hard for their team; however, they were in an outfit that was never really in the game.
At 18-8 the score was still close at halftime, however when Drinkwater denied Redcliffe a try with a brilliant tackle right on the break; the feeling was Redcliffe had just seen their best chance slip away.
The Falcons will now prepare for this Sunday’s decider at Suncorp Stadium against the PNG Hunters in what promises to be an exciting match.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 40 (Justin Olam 2, Joe Stimson 2, Ryley Jacks 2, Scott Drinkwater tries; Guy Hamilton 6 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 14 (Troy Giess, Jonus Pearson tries; Tyson Gamble 3 goals) at Dolphin Oval.