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Best and worst scenarios: Rugby League Brisbane

With only one round remaining until the finals, all eyes are on the South East as the pinnacle week of the Brisbane competitions determine who will be playing past September.

In the shortened year, every win has been vital and as teams approach the 10th and final round of the season, they now know what's at stake as they bid for an elusive finals ticket.

Below is the best and worst scenarios for each Rugby League Brisbane team in the hunt to qualify for finals footy next weekend.

In Safe Hands Cup

It's been an intriguing year of the new In Safe Hands Cup format.

Five new teams joined the fold and brought plenty of entertainment, but last year's grand finalists Wynnum Manly and Valleys are still the two juggernauts to beat.

Eight will become six after this weekend and excitingly, every team is still a mathematical chance of making the cut.

1. Wynnum Manly Seagulls (25 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 2nd
Final match: v Carina Tigers

The Seagulls face the red-hot Tigers who will be prowling to upset the ladder-leaders in the last round of the regular season.

After the 66-point shellacking of Bulimba, last year's grand finalists need to win and hope Valleys are defeated by Pine Rivers, or if they do win, only by a small margin to ensure the minor premiership heads to the bayside.

2. Valleys Diehards (25 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 2nd
Final match: v Pine Rivers Bears

Valleys are only 10 for-and-against points behind Wynnum, so every point is crucial against Pine Rivers in their quest to earn the minor premiership.

The Diehards are already guaranteed a week off in the first round of the finals, but being crowned the top team of the 10-round regular season would be even sweeter. 

By half-time, they will know the result of the Carina v Wynnum matchup and will have the opportunity in the second 40 to potentially lift the first piece of silverware on offer.

3. Carina Tigers (22 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 4th
Final match: v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Carina need to bring their A game this weekend against the Seagulls in the match of the round.

Regardless of the result, they are sured of a finals appearance next week, but the game against Wynnum Manly will determine if it's against fifth or sixth.

Carina Tigers in action. Photo: Vanessa Hafner
Carina Tigers in action. Photo: Vanessa Hafner

4. West Brisbane Panthers (21 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 4th
Final match: v Brighton Roosters

West Brisbane are like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get.

They have a big pack but are yet to settle on a consistent backline, which is a little concerning with finals just around the corner.

Much like Carina, they are also guaranteed to play beyond this week, but the result against Brighton will determine against whom.

5. Pine Rivers Bears (15 points)

Best / worst: 5th – 6th
Final match: v Valleys Diehards

Pine Rivers have nothing to lose this weekend as they are destined to play an elimination final against either Carina or West Brisbane.

Their focus will be to hold their own against a determined Diehards outfit wanting to put on a plethora of points in the hunt for the minor premiership.

6. Brighton Roosters (13 points)

Best / worst: 5th – 7th
Final match: v West Brisbane Panthers

Brighton are all of a sudden on the edge of missing finals footy after last weekend's results.

They held Valleys for three quarters of the game last week, but will need to put in a full 80 minutes this weekend and hope other results fall their way.

Should Normanby get the three points against Bulimba, Brighton must win in order to keep their 2020 season intact... they'll know the state of play by half-time of their clash due to the later kick-off at Frank Lind Oval.

7. Normanby Hounds (12 points)

Best / worst: 6th – 8th
Final match: v Bulimba Bulldogs

Normanby finally came to the party last week against Carina and the draw has kept their finals hopes alive.

There is no middle ground with their situation this weekend... a win against Bulimba could see them in the semi-finals; a loss and the wooden spoon is theirs.

8. Bulimba Bulldogs (11 points)

Best / worst: 6th – 8th
Final match: v Normanby Hounds

Whilst a mathematical chance of playing finals footy, the bookies have them at $501.... they have to beat Normanby by over 100 points and hope Brighton are dusted by at least 75.

Bulimba's Achilles heel has been their defence - they can score points but 'D' wins out.

They will look to end their first season in the In Safe Hands Cup with a win, avoiding the spoon and ruining the Hounds' finals chances.

RLB Reserve Grade

The top six in Reserve Grade has already been decided with this weekend's fixtures to finalise the schedule for next Saturday's elimination finals.

Brighton Roosters v Bulimba Bulldogs. Photo: Mike Simpson
Brighton Roosters v Bulimba Bulldogs. Photo: Mike Simpson

1. Valleys Diehards (26 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 2nd
Final match: v Pine Rivers Bears

Whilst guaranteed a top-two finish, it's an all-important game for Valleys to sew up the minor premiership.

Pine Rivers will be playing for nothing more than pride and will hope to finish the season on a high by upsetting the hopeful minor premiers.

2. Wynnum Manly Seagulls (24 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 3rd
Final match: v Carina Tigers

A win is crucial for the Seagulls to earn the much-appreciated week off.

Should results go their way, they could even earn the minor premiership if they cage the Tigers, but a loss might require them to prepare for a do-or-die elimination final instead of the opportunity to freshen up.

3. West Brisbane Panthers (23 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 4th
Final match: v Brighton Roosters

The mud and bloods will have all their fingers and toes crossed hoping Carina can upset the Seagulls so they can sneak into second and enjoy a week off.

The luxury won't be handed to them on a silver platter as they'll have to topple Brighton, which they already have once this season in cold and wet conditions back in Round 1.

A loss by West Brisbane or a win to Wynnum will see the Panthers feature in the first week of the finals next Saturday.

4. Carina Tigers (21 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 4th
Final match: v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Carina will use this Saturday's contest as a dress rehearsal for next weekend.

Up against quality opposition, the Tigers will aim to put in a good fight against the Seagulls to take the momentum into next week's do-or-die encounter.

5. Brighton Roosters (15 points)

Best / worst: 5th – 6th
Final match: v West Brisbane Panthers

The Roosters will love to put in a good showing in readiness for next week.

Playing in a later game, by full-time they'll know who to prepare for next Saturday.

6. Normanby Hounds (15 points)

Best / worst: 5th – 6th 
Final match: v Bulimba Bulldogs

This is a danger game for Normanby, and whilst their top six spot is guaranteed, the Bulldogs haven't been able to notch up a win yet this season and won't want to finish the year on a duck egg.

Momentum can be dangerous and the last thing the Hounds will want to do is prepare for an elimination final after losing a game they shouldn't have.

InTech Division 1

The top four teams to feature in this year's InTech Division 1 finals series have already been determined with this weekend's fixtures to rubber-stamp who will play whom in week one of the playoffs.

With Brothers securing the minor premiership regardless of their last round result, all eyes will be on the mouth-watering matchup between Beerwah and Redlands at Pinklands.

1. Brisbane Brothers (27 points)

Best / worst: 1st
Final match: v Bulimba Bulldogs

The undefeated Brethren are coming off a 14-6 win over Waterford and should keep that record intact against Bulimba.

Intrust Super Cup fullback Michael Purcell is the butcher's stripes go-to man and is easily their most dangerous player.

A shock loss will still see Brothers take out the minor premiership regardless.

2. Beerwah Bulldogs (24 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 3rd
Final match: v Redlands Parrots

It's a big game coming up for Beerwah as they sit equal-second with Redlands.

The Bulldogs have been the danger side all year, however it will be a tough assignment for the Sunshine Coast challengers who are hoping to secure a win away to finish in the top two.

3. Waterford Demons (24 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 3rd
Final match: v Brisbane Natives

Waterford will be looking to move into second spot with a win over Brisbane Natives.

Classy centre Ashleigh Warner - who has been 'Mr Consistent' all year - may just be the catalyst who gets the Demons home in a thriller, after holding on to win 18-12 against their opponents in Round 1.

Waterford faced Brisbane Natives in Round 1. Photo: Mike Simpson
Waterford faced Brisbane Natives in Round 1. Photo: Mike Simpson

4. Redlands Parrots (21 points)

Best / worst: 4th
Final match: v Beerwah Bulldogs

Although it has no bearing on their finals campaign, Redlands' last game of the season should be an absolute belter of a game at Pinklands Sportsgrounds.

Them at home on any given day can dismantle the best of them.

Inspirational captain Craig Matheson will be the danger man for the Parrots as they hope to upset Beerwah to kickstart their ride into finals.

InTech Division 2 Northside 

There's plenty at stake in the final round of Division 2 Northside.

Five teams remain in the hunt for the final four spots, with the biggest game of the round being the blockbuster clash between Brighton and Wests Brisbane.

1. Aspley Devils (24 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 2nd
Final match: v West Arana Hills Panthers

Coming off a big 32-6 win over North Lakes last week, the Devils take on last placed Wests Arana Hills in the last round.

With only one win in the bank for the Panthers this season, the Devils should cement top spot.

2. Brighton Roosters (23 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 4th
Final match: v Wests Brisbane Panthers

It's second v third in what shapes up to be a mouth-watering matchup that has a huge bearing on who will play whom in the first week of the finals.

Assuming Aspley lose and Brighton can overcome a fast-finishing Wests Brisbane Panthers, the Roosters could well finish minor premiers.

3. Wests Brisbane Panthers (21 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 5th
Final match: v Brighton Roosters

After thumping Wests Mitchelton 40-6 last weekend, the Panthers can either finish third or fifth, depending on results this weekend.

It's a huge task ahead against a red-hot Brighton... this game will surely go down to the wire.

 

Retro Night! Our open men in their retro jerseys at training tonight - an annual tradition ❤️🖤 what jerseys can you pick..?? 🤔 #wearewests #mudandblood

Posted by Wests Brisbane Junior Rugby League Club on Thursday, 24 September 2020

4. Banyo Devils (21 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 5th
Final match: v Samford Stags

Having just got home last week 16-12 over Valleys, Banyo will be desperate to knock over Samford to secure a possible third spot heading into the finals.

The Stags will be looking to ruin the Devils party however with a huge crowd expected at Alan Cash Oval.

5. Normanby Hounds (20 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 5th
Final match: v Valleys Diehards

Having lost to Brighton last weekend 36-16, it hasn't been the most ideal preparation for the Hounds going into their last round fixture against Valleys with a finals berth on the line.

Normanby can beat anybody on their day and will be hoping to get away with the points in a tough encounter.

InTech Division 2 Southside 

Browns Plains have been the team to beat south of the river this season and will wrap up the minor premiership comfortably, regardless of what happens on Saturday.

With only four teams in this division this year, everyone will get an opportunity to play in next week's finals series.

1. Browns Plains Bears (25 points)

Best / worst: 1st
Final match: v Carina Tigers

Having already sewn up the minor premiership, Browns Plains will be out to finish off strongly against last-placed Carina.

The Bears have been the benchmark all season and should round out their regular season with a comfortable win.

2. Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies (19 points)

Best / worst: 2nd
Final match: v Eagleby Giants

The Magpies will snatch second spot despite their matchup against Eagleby this weekend.

It won't be an easy task to overpower the Giants at Bishop Street Park, but the Magpies have the firepower to sneak home in a tight one.

3. Eagleby Giants (15 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 4th
Final match: v Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies

A crackerjack game awaits the Giants against second-placed Magpies.

Eagleby can finish an admirable third, assuming there is not a repeat of the 46-0 drubbing at the hands of the Magpies in Round 7.

Watch out for blockbusting giant Cuba-Bay Tahiti.

4. Carina Tigers (13 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 4th
Final match: v Browns Plains Bears

The Tigers have been brave all season and need to compete for the full 70 minutes if they are to be any match against the rampaging Browns Plains Bears.

The home ground advantage will come into play for the Tigers, but at worst, they'll finish fourth.

Carina Tigers' Division 2 Southside team in action earlier this season. Photo: Mike Simpson
Carina Tigers' Division 2 Southside team in action earlier this season. Photo: Mike Simpson

InTech Division 3 Northside 

Division 3 Northside is the most fluid competition of the seven in Brisbane, with six teams in the fight for a top four spot.

There is so many different makeups of how the finals will take shape, with ladder-leaders Norths St. Joseph's currently on 25 points, followed by two more teams on 23 and three more on 22 heading into the final round.

1. Norths St. Joseph’s Saints (25 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 3rd
Final match: v Brisbane Veterans

Depending on results, Norths St. Joseph’s can all but sew up the minor premiership with a win over new boys Brisbane Veterans.

The Veterans will be no pushover but with the brilliant season St. Joey's have had, first place awaits them with a victory.

2. Moreton Bay Raiders (23 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 5th
Final match: v Aspley Devils

A dangerous game awaits Moreton Bay and depending on results, they could finish in first place with a win over the Aspley Devils.

A loss however, puts them in risk of falling out of the four.

Raiders' Lucas Maloney and veteran Larry Dickson have given invaluable service all season and will be the two players who could get them home.

3. Pine Central Hornets (23 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 6th
Final match: v Norths Lakes Kangaroos

In an evenly-matched contest, third-placed Pine Central will be looking to topple fourth-placed North Lakes in a must-win game for the Hornets.

A win could see them finish in first place if other results go their way, but a loss could see them fall outside the all-important top four.

4. North Lakes Kangaroos (22 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 6th
Final match: v Pine Central Hornets

Having thrashed Brighton Roosters last weekend 62-12, the Kangaroos will be on a high going into battle with Pine Central at Les Hughes Sports Complex.

The best case scenario for the Kangaroos is a second spot finish, but will have to be on guard away from home.

Norths Lakes Kangaroos in action. Photo: Norths Lakes Facebook page
Norths Lakes Kangaroos in action. Photo: Norths Lakes Facebook page

5. Brisbane Brothers (22 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 6th
Final match: v Pine Rivers Bears

With the Brethren, Aspley and North Lakes all sitting on 22 points, this is a must-win game for Brothers.

Having knocked off ladder-leaders Norths St. Joseph’s last weekend 14-10, Brothers have the potential to cause another upset and finish in second spot.

6. Aspley Devils (22 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 6th
Final match: v Moreton Bay Raiders

Racking up a half century last weekend against Pine Rivers, Aspley will be looking to keep that momentum going against a hungry Moreton Bay Raiders.

Ken Hayward Oval looks set for an almighty showdown where the Devils could possibly finish in second if they can come away with a win.

InTech Division 3 Southside 

Much like their Division 3 counterparts across the river, the makeup of the Southside finals series is just as unpredictable.

Six teams remain in the hunt with Brothers St. Brendan's and Redlands the only two teams guaranteed of not dropping out of the four come the end of the round.

1. Brothers St. Brendan’s (25 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 2nd
Final match: v Capalaba Warriors

Table-toppers St. Brendan’s will be looking to finish off the season as minor premiers, when they take on the winless Capalaba Warriors this weekend.

With Brothers disposing the Mustangs 54-22 last Saturday, the Warriors will need something special if they are to upset the fast-finishing Saints.

2. Redlands Parrots (23 points)

Best / worst: 1st – 3rd
Final match: v Beaudesert Kingfishers

The only side to have beaten ladder-leaders St. Brendan’s, Redlands will still have to be looking over their shoulders against a dangerous Beaudesert Kingfishers.

A win could see the Parrots finish in top spot if the Brethren lose, but a loss may drop them down to third.

3. Easts Mount Gravatt Eagles (21 points)

Best / worst: 2nd – 5th
Final match: v Souths Sunnybank Magpies

You can never underestimate the Eagles, especially on home soil.

Club legend Barney Tiki Tiki and the skilful Ricky Biles will be out to secure Mount Gravatt the much-needed two points against Souths to possibly finish in second spot.

4. Beaudesert Kingfishers (19 points)

Best / worst: 3rd – 6th
Final match: v Redlands Parrots

The Kingfishers will be out to cause an upset over Redlands in the hope of nabbing third spot.

If they lose, they could finish in sixth... it's a must-win for the club.

5. Souths Sunnybank Magpies (19 points)

Best/worst: 3rd – 6th
Final match: v Easts Mount Gravatt Eagles

It's a tough assignment taking on Mount Gravatt at Allan Innes Field.

The Magpies will be looking to secure third with an upset, however a loss will prove costly and keep the Magpies outside of the top four.

6. Mustangs Brothers (17 points)

Best/worst: 4th – 6th
Final match: Bye

Having been given the bye in the final round, Mustangs will be relying on results to go their way if they are to finish in fourth spot.

Ultimately, they need Mount Gravatt to win, and Redlands to defeat Beaudesert by 54 points in order for them to progress.

The worst case scenario for Mustangs is remaining in sixth.