The Sunshine Coast Falcons were the only team standing between Redcliffe and the minor premiership, but spurred on by their home crowd; the Dolphins were able to claim the honours with an imposing 45-16 win.
It didn’t take long for the home side to put themselves into the game, when centre Jeremy Hawkins crossed in the eighth minute – followed closely by fullback Trai Fuller in the 12th minute.
The Falcons were able to break the Dolphins stiff defence in the 17th minute when centre Sandor Earl crossed.
Dolphins rising star, Kotoni Staggs, was able to find the try line for the first of his four tries of the evening in the 22nd minute – a player coach Adam Mogg described as a unique athlete.
“Staggsie is a special talent who was really good again tonight,” Mogg said.
“That performance from him tonight has been coming for a few weeks, it’s been building.”
Redcliffe second rower Aaron Whitchurch found the line in the 30th minute, giving the home side a 21-6 lead at the break after a Bryce Donovan field goal on the siren.
After the game, Mogg was full of praise for his side’s ability to come together as a team throughout the long season.
“It was really a team performance tonight – like most of the games we play, the boys are able to find a way to come together and get the win,” Mogg said.
“We’ve had a really tough draw throughout the back end of this season – we haven’t had too many byes, breaks or home games.”
Dolphins captain Cameron Cullen opened the scoring in the second half in the 44th minute before Staggs pulled out back-to-back-to-back tries within the space of 10 minutes.
The Falcons found some points through winger Matt Soper-Lawler who crossed in the 58th minute.
Trai Fuller added more points for the Dolphins in the 75th minute when he crossed for his second try of the night, before Soper-Lawler went over again in 79th minute for his double.
Mogg put the final round win down to his side’s preparation during training and their determination each week to improve.
“Throughout the week, the boys have been training really hard, and I think that tonight’s score line is a reflection of how we’ve been training,” Mogg said.
“It’s very pleasing to win the minor premiership, the boys have worked really had to put themselves into this position.”
The Dolphins will have Week 1 of the finals off before facing off against the second-placed Burleigh Bears in Week 2 of the finals series.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 45 (Kotoni Staggs 4, Trai Fuller 2, Jeremy Hawkins, Aaron Whitchurch, Cameron Cullen tries; Kotoni Staggs 4 goals; Bryce Donovan field goal) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16 (Matt Soper-Lawler 2, Sandor Earl tries; Matt Soper-Lawler 2 goals) at Dolphin Stadium.
Photo: Kotoni Staggs starred for the Dolphins. QRL Media / Vanessa Hafner
*Emily Clooney is a QRL coresspondent covering the Redcliffe Dolphins