Southport Tigers have advanced to the Rugby League Gold Coast QTOP A Grade preliminary final thanks to a 34-20 win over Tugun on Saturday.
A double to winger Barry Ruttley, including a 90-metre runaway effort, helped lift the Tigers to end a four-game losing streak and gather some much-needed confidence.
After a seesawing first half and with scores level at 16-16, it was Ruttley’s second try that became the turning point of the afternoon.
In the 47th minute the Seahawks put up a towering attacking bomb that was charged onto by Ruttley from inside his own 10-metre line.
His aggression was rewarded as he came out the other side with the ball in hand and nobody in front of him, racing the length of the field to give the Tigers a 22-16 lead.
Six minutes later another pivotal moment came, as Tugun halfback Sam Meskell was sin-binned for holding down a runaway Tiger.
The Tigers went over twice while the Seahawks were down to 12 men, taking an unassailable 18-point lead.
Tugun scored a late consolation try through Tim Cassidy to bring the final margin back to 14-points, but it wasn’t enough and they are now eliminated from the competition.
Southport will challenge Currumbin in the preliminary final in a replay of their game from week of the finals.
Currumbin Eagles will host the fixture after going down 26-12 at the hands of the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
Currumbin led throughout the first half, but the minor premiers – who had sat out the previous two weekends - got better as the game went on to eventually record a comfortable win and become the first team to qualify for the grand final.
The Bears will be forced to sit out again next week, meaning they will have played just one game in the four weeks leading into the grand final.
Regardless of their lack of football, with just one loss to their names so far this season the Bears will start favourites whether they face Southport or Currumbin in two weeks.
Rugby League Gold Coast QTOP A Grade finals week 2 results
Southport Tigers 34 (Barry Ruttley 2, Jack Conlan, Jacob Pottinger, Lachlan Douglas, Liam Hampson tries Barry Ruttley 5 goals) def Tugun Seahawks 20 (Corey Morris, Troy Canning, Timothy Cassidy, Ethan Roberts, tries Samuel Meskell 2 goals)
Burleigh Bears 26 (Te Rangiatea McDonald, Regan Ogle, Reece Tapine, Darius Farmer, James Watson tries Reece Tapine 3 goals) def Currumbin Eagles 12 (Daniel Mortimer, Benjamin Willetts tries Philip Ramage 2 goals)