The Wanderers Devils have claimed the 2020 Mount Isa Rugby League premiership after a nail-biting 22-18 win over the Town Lions in Saturday's thrilling decider.
After last meeting in 2015 and playing out a 104-minute marathon, the game didn't last as long this time round, but fans were still kept on a knife's edge for the entire contest much like when the two last squared off in the big dance six years ago.
The win spoils Town's quest of winning four-in-a-row, with the Devils being crowned undefeated premiers after not losing a game in this abridged season.
Also in North Queensland, Townsville Brothers are the first team to book a place in this year's men's decider in Mackay; whilst the butcher's stripes will also be represented in the women's decider as Mackay Brothers overcame Magpies in their hunt to defend their 2019 title.
And in South East Queensland, the competition is really starting to heat up as the final round of the In Safe Hands Cup is played in Brisbane, whilst the penultimate round of fixtures will feature at the Gold Coast and Ipswich / Toowoomba.
In Safe Hands Cup - Brisbane
There's been another change at the top of the In Safe Hands Cup ladder as Wynnum Manly reclaim No.1 spot over Valleys, thanks to an impressive 66-0 shutout of Bulimba on Saturday.
A Corey Davis hat-trick and Rahkeem Auda double were all part of the show by the defending premiers, who now need to win against Carina and hope Valleys are either beaten, or only defeat Pine Rivers by a small margin to keep their hands on the minor premiership title.
It was just another day at the office for the men in royal blue, putting the relentless Brighton Roosters to the sword 36-22.
Forget the rest of the competition - the top try-scoring battle seems to be a two-horse race between Diehards' Jayden Corrigan and Rashaun Denny, with Corrigan extending his lead to 12 with a handy two-try haul; although, Denny's treble has him now only two four-pointers behind the talented fullback.
Normanby kept their finals hopes alive with a 30-30 draw against Carina; Jacob Tonge starring with two meat pies.
The Hounds now need to beat Bulimba and hope Wests can do their job over Brighton to sneak into the top six.
The draw has allowed the Panthers to contest third spot in the final match this weekend after defeating Pine Rivers, but coach Craig Ingebrigtsen would be a little concerned his side took their foot off the pedal in the second 40, conceding three tries to one.
Round 9 results
Valleys Diehards 36 defeated Brighton Roosters 22
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 66 defeated Bulimba Bulldogs 0
Normanby Hounds 30 drew Carina Tigers 30
West Brisbane Panthers 30 defeated Pine Rivers Bears 18
Round 9 ladder
|1||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||9||8||0||1||+206||25|
|4||West Brisbane Panthers||9||6||0||3||+113||21|
|5||Pine Rivers Bears||9||3||0||6||-122||15|
QTOP A Grade Premiership - Gold Coast
With two weeks to go, Runaway Bay can sew up the minor premiership if they defeat Tugun at Boyd Street this Saturday.
Seagulls fans were treated to a clinic by Jaylan To'o against Ormeau, crossing the stripe a whopping four times to score all but one of their tries for their sixth-straight win of the season.
In Currumbin, Tugun kept their finals hopes alive with a 20-18 win over the Eagles.
The visitors had run away with the game with ten to play, but the boys in red fought back to get within two points of their southern opponents, Cole Geyer leading the charge with a second-half hat-trick.
And in the match of the round, another enthralling chapter was added to the Southport versus Burleigh history book, as the Bears got back in the winner's circle with a narrow 23-22 victory.
It was deja vu for the defending premiers, as the Tigers piled on the points, leading 16-4 with around 30 minutes to play, until the Bears decided to go on a try-scoring frenzy, turning the tables at 22-18.
With minutes remaining, Harley Wood crossed for his second try, locking the game up at 22-22 and left Callum Burgess-Boomer to kick the match-winning conversion... but he sadly missed, keeping the game all tied up.
In the dying seconds, Shallin Fuller snapped the clutch one-pointer, hitting the left upright and rebounding over the black-dot to re-take the lead and the game, in the edge-of-your-seat contest.
Round 8 results
Tugun Seahawks 20 defeated Currumbin Eagles 18
Burleigh Bears 23 defeated Southport Tigers 22
Runaway Bay Seagulls 26 defeated Ormeau Shearers 12
Mudgeeraba Redbacks - Bye
Round 8 ladder
|1||Runaway Bay Seagulls||7||6||1||0||+34||23|
Volunteers Cup - Ipswich
The round at Herb Steinohrt Oval was played in typical blustery Toowoomba conditions, leading to a number of scrappy games in the pivotal round where every point was crucial.
Goodna flew away to a handy 18-6 lead at the break against West End, and went on with it in the early stages of the second half, but the Bulldogs fought hard to get back in the game.
Although the margin only ended up being 12 points, the Eagles never looked like losing, but West End can take some confidence away from the game after drawing the second half with the ladder leaders.
It was a tight tussle in the Darling Downs derby as Gatton came from behind to defeat Souths 28-20.
It was tit-for-tat for a majority of the game, and although Souths did manage to lead 20-12 at one stage, the Hawks found their second burst and scored three unanswered tries to put the game beyond doubt.
The only blemish to this game was the seven sin-binnings for a number of incidents throughout the game... should both these sides want to play finals footy, their discipline must improve out of sight.
In the final game of Round 8, Valleys have claimed outright second with a gutsy 26-18 win over Norths.
It was a tale of two halves as Valleys really put their foot down in the opening 40 minutes, leading 16-4 at the break, but Norths came out of the sheds firing, and hit back to reduce the deficit to just two points.
When the game turned physical, the defending TRL premiers got into the grind and won the wrestle, putting on a further two tries to ice the victory over the third-placed Tigers.
Round 8 results
Goodna Eagles 28 defeated West End Bulldogs 16
Gatton Hawks 28 defeated Souths Tigers 20
Valleys Roosters 26 defeated Norths Tigers 18
Round 8 ladder
|4||West End Bulldogs||8||2||0||6||+12||4|
Components Only Cup - Mackay A Grade
Townsville Brothers are off to the Components Only Cup decider after a nail-biting 24-22 win over minor premiers West Mackay Tigers.
The Brethren shot out to an 18-6 lead, and although the Tigers hit back to get within two of the Townsville powerhouse, a number of ball-handling errors troubled the Tigers all night long, allowing the butcher's stripes to get one back after losing by four points in the matinee between the two only a week ago.
Wests will now face up against Carltons who advanced from the elimination final over Souths.
Townsville Brothers 24 defeated West Mackay Tigers 22
Carltons Devils defeated Souths Sharks (forfeit)
|1||West Mackay Tigers||6||6||0||0||+124||14|
Mackay Airport Cup - Mackay Women
There were Brothers and no others who won in the Mackay Airport Cup semi-finals at the weekend.
Defending premiers Mackay Brothers advance to the big dance after a solid 28-6 victory over Magpies, and their Townsville cousins will take a lot of confidence out of their 54-6 domination of Wests in the do-or-die elimination final.
This weekend, the Magpies take on Townsville Brothers for the final golden ticket to this year's decider.
Mackay Brothers 28 defeated Mackay Magpies 6
Townsville Brothers 54 defeated West Mackay Tigers 6
|4||West Mackay Tigers||5||1||0||4||-124||6|
Mount Isa A Grade Premiership*
The Wanderers Devils have denied the Town Lions a record fourth-straight premiership in a thrilling decider, winning 22-18 at Alec Inch Oval on Saturday.
The season may have been curtailed due to COVID-19, but the intensity was as strong as ever in a gripping final game that brought back memories of the heroic 2015 decider recently reminisced by Chris Waters.
The first half was tight as each other's defence sniffed out any chance of danger and both sides were guilty of dropping the ball.
Wanderers were first on the scoreboard when Luke McKenna crashed over after eight minutes.
George Huma doubled the lead after 23 minutes to make it 8-0, though the Devils were unable to grab the all-important extras on either occasion.
This failure hurt them when Townies finally got on the board after 36 minutes as Joshua Bentley's try was converted by Brandon McConnachy, leaving matters delicately-poised at 8-6 when the half-time siren blew.
It seemed as if momentum was suddenly with the Lions and they came out strongest at the start of the second half.
The defending premiers stole the lead for the first time in the 45th minute when Scott Perrin scored to make it 10-8, but back came the Wanderers, restoring their buffer out of nowhere when Daryl Avery grabbed a try in the corner 10 minutes later.
In what was a see-sawing match, Town went straight back up the other end, causing a mistake and Bronson Smith followed up with the four-pointer.
Now 14-12, the Lions scored again when Ronnie Francis took a screaming mark that wouldn't have looked out of place at the 'G to set up another try.
But the failure to convert haunted them too, leaving only six points in it at 18-12.
McKenna grabbed his second try with eight minutes to play, narrowing the margin to a mere two points, setting up a grandstand finish for the modest crowd at Alec Inch.
Sensing blood, the Devils surged forward... and with only two minutes left, Queensland Outback representative Jekope Kauvere scored the match-winner when he barged over close to the posts and with Lance Cope slotting the successful conversion, it left Townies little to no time to reply.
After hanging on in the final seconds, Wanderers celebrated with their fans after winning the cliff-hanger by only four points.
*Grand final recount thanks to Mount Isa correspondent Chris Waters
Grand final results
Wanderers Devils 22 (Luke McKenna 2, George Huma, Daryl Avery, Jekope Kauvere tries; Lance Cope goal) defeated Town Lions 18 (Joshua Bentley, Scott Perrin, Bronson Smith, Ronnie Francis tries; Brandon McConnachy goal)
|3||Mount Isa Black Stars||1||0||3||-104||6|