Gulls advance while Valleys book grand final ticket

Valleys Diehards advanced to the In Safe Hands Cup grand final, while Wynnum Manly eliminated Easts Tigers in the first week of the finals.

As per usual in the In Safe Hands Cup, there was no such thing as a favourite, with the lower ranked teams winning both the major and minor semi-finals.

The Seagulls repeated their efforts of the previous week by travelling to Langlands Park and coming away with a win to eliminate the Tigers 36-28.

The defending premiers travel to Frank Lind Oval this weekend where the minor premiers West Brisbane will be waiting after Valleys powered to the grand final with a 38-20 in their major semi-final.

Easts were looking to end a horror run of four straight losses and turn the tables on the result against the Seagulls from the previous week.

The Tigers started off well posting the first points after hooker Jack Walters crashed over from dummy half in the 5th minute.

The Seagulls hit back five minutes later as Gulls playmaker Edwin Ipape snuck past two defenders to score.

The Tigers forwards combined in rhythmic fashion at the other end when prop Justin Fai and Tevita’unga Wolske created an overlap which allowed Thomas Hughes to score out wide.

Ipape was at it again for the Gulls shortly after, getting within two metres of the try line before an offload setup Corey Davis to score a try that saw the Seagulls edge in front 10-8.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as Easts were back in front when a Joshua Curti chip kick found fellow half Nathan Brown flying high to touch down under the cross bar.

The mail man Ipape delivered once again as he was able to conjure something out of nothing before a pinpoint flick pass to support player Sam Elliott who busted over.

Wynnum’s offloads were killing the Tigers and back-rower Brad Mana put one on to the chest of Rhadly Brawa to score another try for the Gulls. A penalty goal on halftime saw the Seagulls lead 24-12 at the break.

Another penalty goal shortly after halftime extended the Seagulls lead further before Hughes bagged his second try to get the Tigers back in the game.

A couple of fends on the Gulls cover defence was enough for him to motor 70 metres to score, bringing the contest within eight.

The elusive Ipape once again danced through the Tigers line and muscled his way over to score in what was becoming a virtuoso performance.

Tigers half Curti busted his own moves at the scoreboard end to push a neat pass for Wolske to smash over and keep the scores tight.

However, the game was put beyond reach with eight minutes remaining as Mitch McMillan bullocked his way over for Wynnum.

Easts scored another unconverted try through Curtis Dansey Smaller with a minute remaining, but the damage was done, and the Tigers bowed out of the In Safe Hands Cup.

The Seagulls will now take on the Panthers in the preliminary final after Wests Brisbane were unable to topple Valleys.

The Diehards led 20-4 at halftime and went on with the job in the second half, qualifying for their second grand final in two years with an 18-point win.

In Safe Hands Cup finals week 1 results

Major Semi Final

Valleys Diehards 38 (Ethan Richards 2, Brody Baker, Moses Mc Greal, Simon Brittain-Snowden, Jayden Baker tries Jack Miers 7 goals) defeated West Brisbane Panthers 20 (Campbell Mohr, Eddie Tautali, Michael Molo, Keelyn Tuuta tries James Olds 2 goals)

Minor Semi Final

Wynnum Manly Seagulls 36 (Edwin Ipape 2, Mitch McMillan, Sam Elliott, Corey Davis, Rahdly Brawa tries Tristan Hope 6 goals) defeated Easts Tigers 28 (Thomas Hughes 2, Curtis Dansey-Smaller, Jack Walters, Tevita Wolske, Nathan Brown tries Nathan Brown, Thomas Hughes goal)

In Safe Hands Cup preliminary final

West Brisbane Panthers v Wynnum Manly Seagulls – Saturday, September 14 at Frank Lind Oval, 3pm