Tigers, Panthers play off for SEQW preliminary final spot

A spot in the preliminary final is on the line when the Easts Tigers host the West Brisbane Panthers in their SEQW elimination final this Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers finished the season in third spot with a record of 10 wins and six losses in what was just their second season in the top grade.

They led the competition for much of the middle part of the year, before the Burleigh Bears and Brothers Ipswich finished the year on rolls and moved into the top two spots.

It leaves the Tigers in an elimination setting this week when they host the Panthers at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.

Tigers coach Duane Rehua said his team will be looking to tighten up their ball control, but he is overall happy with their form leading into the finals.

"Our intensity, energy and effort has been great," he said. "The way the girls keep turning up for each other, especially through the middle; I couldn't ask for more effort there. There is just a couple of little areas to tidy up, but if we can do that I think we'll be pretty tough.

"We've been defending really well, especially through the middle and on our line. Our defensive attitude reflects the culture we've been trying to build all year.

"The girls are working hard to make sure they're not letting their mates down. That's been a really good foundation for everything we've done this year."

The Tigers come into the finals series without Jillaroos star and Queensland State of Origin captain Karina Brown, who suffered a broken jaw in Round 15.

Rehua said that while Brown is "irreplaceable," he has total confidence in his team's ability to get the job done without her.

Keysha Baker took Brown's place last week and won praise from her coach for her performance, while Tayla Eldridge is also an option at the back.

While filling that void will be important, the real battle is likely to be upfront against a big and tough Panthers outfit.

"The Panthers have got some big, mobile forwards and they normally try to roll through your ruck and use their sheer size," Rehua said.

"I expect they'll try to work us through the middle again. In saying that, last time we played them I think we worked really hard and were up to the challenge in the middle and that's pretty much the same way we'll be approaching them this week."

Kick-off in the elimination final between the Tigers and the Panthers at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park is this Saturday evening at 5pm.

Earlier on Saturday, the Burleigh Bears and Brothers Ipswich will play off for a spot in the grand final in their major semi-final at Pizzey Park from 2pm. The loser of that game will play the winner of the elimination final in next week's preliminary final.

SEQW Division 1 Finals Week 1

Major semi-final

Burleigh Bears v Ipswich Brothers; Saturday July 27 at Pizzey Park – 2pm

Elimination semi-final

Easts Tigers v West Brisbane Panthers; Saturday July 27 at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park – 5pm