The Redcliffe Dolphins came prepared to face a Mackay Cutters side desperate to send outgoing coach Steve Sheppard out on a winning note.
However, the Dolphins were too strong, winning 48-10 at Dolphin Stadium.
It was the home side that started the match full of energy, with tries to Brayden Dee, Josh Beehag and Jeremy Hawkins before 10 minutes had passed.
A late hit on the Dolphins' Tyson Gamble saw Cutters second rower Brenden Trenton put on report, but that only temporarily halted the Dolphins' fine start.
In the next set Brisbane Broncos centre Izaia Perese crossed and with a Gamble conversion, the Dolphins led 22-0 after 16 minutes.
When it’s not your night, it’s just not your night; following the Cutters kicking the ball out on the full, Beehag extended the Dolphins' lead following good lead up work from Dee.
The Cutters showed promise and tried to work their way back into the game through line speed and aggressive defence, but Sheldon Pitama continued his recent run of good form when he took off from the scrum base to cross for the Dolphins' sixth try of the first half.
And it was proving a real night out for Beehag, who crossed for his third try in the first half after some clever hands from Gamble.
The Cutters were their own worst enemy in the first half with their poor discipline eventually seeing interchange forward Sam Johnstone earn a stint in the sin bin.
Halftime score 38-0.
Match: Dolphins v Cutters
Round 23 -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane
Dolphins coach Adam Mogg replaced five-eighth Gamble at halftime with a hip injury after the influential play maker was a target of the Cutters defence.
With Gamble off the field, the Dolphins attack stuttered, with the home side looking increasingly frustrated with the ball in hand.
As the frustrations began to spill over, both sides came together multiple times in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
One of the melees saw Brenden Treston from the Cutters and Nathan Watts and Beehag dispatched for 10 minutes in the sin bin.
It was the Cutters who opened the scoring in the second half when North Queensland Cowboys-contracted player Dan Russell crossed after the ball went through the hands and the visitors found the Dolphins defence wanting.
The Cutters made it two in a row when the flying winger Yamba Bowie crossed in the corner.
Further poor discipline saw Cutters winger Marcus Jensen sent to the sin bin for back chat.
It took the Dolphins 34 minutes in the second half before they crossed for their first try when Perese split the Cutters defence and found Bryce Donovan backing up on the inside to cross untouched.
The Cutters defence was still willing, despite being well behind on the scoreboard.
The Dolphins completed a great night overall when Jeremy Hawkins crossed for a try in the shadows of fulltime.
For the Cutters, fullback Paul Byrnes looked dangerous every time he got the ball in space.
It was a disappointing end to the tenure as coach of the Cutters for Sheppard, who is one of the good guys of the competition.
Dolphins coach Mogg was happy with the result but at the same time he admitted his team would have to lift a gear or two for their elimination semi final against Tweed Seagulls.
"It was a scrappy, stop-start game with a lot of penalties probably not an ideal way for us to finish our regular season," Mogg said.
"I was happy with certain aspects of our game and a bit disappointed in others, but we got the win.
"Next week we play a really good and inform Tweed side at their home ground, we’ll need to improve on our efforts of last two weeks if we want to get the result.
"We’ll train really hard this week working on a few things that I wasn’t happy with over the past two weeks."