After a full season of Hastings Deering Colts action, two teams who have not met since Round 1 of the competition will meet again to decide this year’s champions at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Wynnum Manly overcame the in-form Mackay Cutters at Jack Manski Oval in Townsville 34-6 last weekend to book their place in this coming weekend’s grand finals.
The Sunshine Coast Falcons will join Wynnum in the big game, after a close preliminary final victory over the Burleigh Bears 23-16 in at Pizzey Park.
Both teams come into this weekend’s grand final full of confidence as a new Hastings Deering Colts champion will be crowned.
Sunshine Coast coach Sam Mawhinney said his side played a disciplined game to progress through to the big game.
“We stuck to our processes in the first half, we were defensively solid, and we know that if we could get to the break in a good position, we had the chances to put the game away in the second half,” Mawhinney said.
The Falcons went into the break with a tight 2-0 score line in their favor, before back-to-back late tries in the second half propelled the Falcons to their first Hastings Deering Colts grand final.
Mawhinney said that the excitement surrounding his players and the club would make this weekend a moment to treasure.
“We had brilliant support last weekend, a whole bus full of supporters coming down the coast just to cheer us on,” Mawhinney said.
“The boys are incredibly excited to play at a venue like Dolphin Stadium, they’ve done an amazing job with the redevelopment and because it’s so close to the coast, we’re hoping to have a good strong support on the day.”
Wynnum Manly come into this weekend’s grand final after a terrific performance, putting on 30 points in quick succession to end the Mackay Cutters fairytale run in the preliminary finals.
Coach Joe O’Callaghan said his side were the beneficiaries of a settled squad for the first time all season.
“We’ve been able to name the same side in consecutive weeks for the first time all season, which really helped the 17 boys feel settled and ready to go,” O’Callaghan said.
Going into the break with up 30-6, Wynnum Manly put in a strong defensive effort in the second half to keep the Cutters scoreless and book their place at Dolphin Stadium.
O’Callaghan said his Wynnum Manly side have been waiting for an opportunity like this for several years.
“It’s a great feeling for these boys, many of them joined the squad at 18 years of age, so for them this will be a few years in the making and they’ll be wanting to make the most of our opportunity,” O’Callaghan said.
Captains and coaches of the sides met for press duties on Tuesday morning at Redcliffe Peninsula, with both sides meeting for the first time since March.
Wynnum Manly captain Brock Richardson said his side knew the contest would be physical, but they were up for the challenge.
“The boys know it’s a tough game, we want to keep things normal and work from the middle of the field to give ourselves the best of winning,” Richardson said.
Sunshine Coast captain Jack Wright said his side’s work during the season had given them the belief to go all the way.
“We know Wynnum are a good side, but the boys are all confident as a group and together we know that if we play our game, we can come away feeling good,” Wright said.
Match: WM Seagulls v Falcons
Grand Final -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane