Having only played the two games in the past four rounds; the Redcliffe Dolphins will have their hands full trying to tame the Easts Tigers who are on the hunt for their maiden Intrust Super Cup premiership on Sunday.
Coming from fifth spot at the end of the regular season, the Tigers’ miraculous run of form during the past three weeks has led them all the way to the decider.
Despite their underdog status, the Tigers have won each of their three finals matchups by double digits and will look to continue their attacking prowess against the competition favourites.
Tigers coach Scott Sipple said his side had struggled with injuries and form in the first half of the season, but their Round 15 clash against the CQ Capras helped ignite their turn-around.
“We came from behind against the Capras and Crofty (Brodie) and Scott Drinkwater wanted the ball and we got it at the last second,” he said.
“Those kinds of blokes have developed over the year and you want your playmakers to get the ball and be winners.
“The game was on the line and they produced and ever since then, the team has got belief and we’ve had a few close games but again, that belief’s there to play 80 minutes.”
His club has a history of success behind them, but Dolphins coach Adam Mogg said he knew how tough grand finals can be and his side would not be taking Easts lightly.
“We’re focused on our goals we set in November and every year those goals don’t waiver with me,” he said.
“Our BRL and Queensland (Intrust Super) Cup teams have been in five grand finals in the last three years and only managed to win one; they’re hard to win and both teams will turn up for a good game.”
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As a former NRL player and Maroons representative, Mogg said he’s tried to adjust his coaching mentality to give his team the confidence to play their game.
“Sometimes you can over-analyse the opposition, so I’ve really relaxed that and I’m really confident in our halves this year which has allowed me to do that,” Mogg said.
With past, present and future NRL players in both teams, Sipple said he was happy with the poise of some of his younger talents.
“I was speaking to Tino (Fa’asuamaleaui) on Tuesday and he was pretty excited, but he thinks it’s just another game of footy just in a bigger stadium,” he said.
“With Scott Drinkwater, I think he’s the best player in the comp to be honest and the last 10 weeks for us, he’s been outstanding.”
While both teams’ focus is squarely on the grand final, Mogg said this game will be a “perfect exhibition” for future NRL stars.
“You’ve got kids like Drinkwater and Kotoni Staggs coming through and as a pathway competition, the grand final is just a perfect exhibition of what this competition is all about,” he said.
“We want a really good game of football to represent our brand and the Intrust Super Cup and if all teams and players do that, we can all walk away proud.
“I can’t wait; it’s going to be a really good game of footy.”
>> This is a contracted version of this story. Read the full article in the match day programme – Game Day. Available only at the venue on grand final day.