Dolphins and Seagulls clash for BRL title
After 20 regular season rounds and two weeks of finals, just the Redcliffe Dolphins and the Bayside Seagulls remain to contest the 2018 BRL A Grade In Safe Hands Cup grand final.
The Redcliffe Dolphins were first to qualify, progressing to their third straight decider after their major semi-final win over the Panthers 26-22 a fortnight ago.
They will square off against the Seagulls who have won their way through two elimination finals to qualify.
They defeated Easts, 31-20 in the minor semi-final and then last week produced a comprehensive 38-8 elimination of the West Brisbane Panthers.
Bishop Park is the venue once again for the 4pm kick off. This the third year in a row the Devils have hosted this prestigious premiership decider.
The Dolphins have had mixed results in recent years, with a 31-30 extra time win over the Jets in 2016 followed up by a 16-12 defeat at the hands of the Valleys Diehards last year.
The Seagulls, who played in the grand final against the Jets in 2015, have added Semisi Ahoafi to a massive pack that rumbled down WJ Scott Park last week.
Ahoafi is the only change while the Dolphins have also made one change from a fortnight ago with Scott Schulte making way for Jed Simbiken.
Mitch Moore and John Te Reo have forged a lethal halves partnership for the Seagulls, a partnership that was on full display last weekend when they combined to set up three tries against the Panthers.
Te Reo, who has a wealth of finals and high level experience, has been the iceman throughout the pressure moments this season.
Seagulls coach Ron Troutman also has the luxury of two quality dummy halves at his disposal in the midfield line breaker, Moore and the deadly Kalolo Saitaua, who strikes close to the line.
On the other hand, the Seagulls are battle hardened, with the only question being, after consecutive elimination finals, can they do it one more time?
Redcliffe's Daniel Green has been the competition's most successful coach since the BRL's return in 2015, guiding the Dolphins into the past three grand finals.
At the start of the season, Green had almost a brand new squad compared to the team that played in the decider in 2016 and he has moulded this pod of Dolphins into a well-oiled machine.
The giant front row of Tristan Hope, Bailey Butler and Ben King have cut a swathe through defensive lines all year resulting in plenty of ball and field position for the likes of Tony Tumusa, Corban Daniels and company to finish off the hard work.
As one of the 'muscle' heads to the bench, Green has more than adequate fire power to maintain the rage up front. The bush ranger Jordan Pinnock has been ruthless in his post contact metres, along with Taylor Brown, the Dolphins can certainly match the formidable Seagulls pack.
The Dolphins have won three of the four clashes between the two sides this year and with a week off to rest last weekend they will likely start marginal favourites; however, the 2018 In Safe Hands Cup has been extraordinarily close all season and the grand final is likely to mirror that closeness.
The BRL A Grade In Safe Hands Cup grand final will take place this Saturday afternoon at Bishop Park from 4pm. The game will be livestreamed and simulcast on radio.
IN SAFE HANDS CUP GRAND FINAL - Saturday, September 15
DOLPHINS v SEAGULLS at Bishop Park - 4pm
1. Tony Tumusa 2. Justice Utateo 3. Sam Leach 4. Corban Daniels 5. Will Partridge 6. Reece Braun 7. Radean Robinson 8. Bailey Butler 9. Tristan Hope 10. Ben King 11. James Flack 12. Agassi Stowers 13. Samson Graham 14. Jordan Pinnock 15. Sheldon Pitama 16. Taylor Brown 17. Jed Simbiken
Coach: Daniel Green
1. Matthew Milson 2. Peter Gubb 3. Harlan Collins 4. Tumoana Halkyard 5. Jack Goodsell 6. John Te Reo 7. Mitchell Moore 18. Ngarima Pita 19. Kalolo Saitaua 10. Billy Solah 11. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard 12. Semisi Ahoafi 13. Joshua Hoffman 14. Corey Davis 15. Jacob Paulo 16. Bradley Mana 17. Kelly Tate 18. Jaz Nahu-Main 19. (One to be omitted)
Coach: Ron Troutman
Curtain Raisers details:
*Reserve Grade grand final: Beenleigh Pride v West Brisbane Panthers at 2pm
*Under 21 grand final: Capalaba v St Brendan's at 12noon
Admission: Adults $5; under 17 and concession free.
* John Devine is a QRL correspondent who covers the BRL A Grade competition