Redlands Parakeets produced arguably the upset of the year after pipping an undefeated Brothers 24-22 at the weekend in a thriller at Emerson Park, to advance to this year’s Intech Men’s open 1 grand final against Beerwah Bulldogs.
In a pulsating match, the game went right down to the wire in a heart-stopping finish that capped off what was a superb match.
Minutes into the first half, Brothers centre Sam Fall was presented a dream run to the line to get the scoreboard ticking when he sliced his way through some ordinary Redlands defence to score the first try of the afternoon.
Having been battered by the Brothers defence early on, Redlands then managed to mount a spell of pressure of their own and it paid dividends in the 11th minute when Parakeets halfback Ben Thompson crossed beside the sticks.
Redlands Ned Claffey saw an opportunity and was able to beat two Brothers defenders to score a great solo try out wide.
The Leprechauns then managed to swing the momentum in their favour and that led to winger Brent Kelly scoring the first of three tries for the afternoon, when he blitzed his way down the sideline.
Kelly crossed the line again six minutes later after some good lead-up work by fullback Michael Purcell.
Purcell add the sideline conversion that saw the minor premiers back in front at 14-12.
Inspirational hooker Craig Matheson led from the front, rallying his men to take it to the previously undefeated Leprechaun’s and his team responded.
Fantastic knocks by Parakeets Matheson, Jake Barwick, Callum Rigney, and halfback Thompson were superior to say the least.
Redlands broke the deadlock right on the halftime hooter with a gift penalty for sharpshooter Rigney, after slotting the easiest of conversions to see both sides head into the sheds 14-14.
Three minutes into the second half saw Brothers take the lead once again through Michael Cotton, who bumped off two defenders to reach out and score.
Redlands crossed again in the 57th minute and with a superb Rigney sideline conversion, had their noses in front again 20-18.
Brothers however were still dishing out the punishment in defence which tried to unsettle the Redlands pack.
Leprechauns’ Fall, Byron Creighton and Troy Swift were outstanding in a losing side.
Matheson’s incredible skipper’s knock then fired up the Baysiders, which eventually led to five-eighth Dan Smith weaving his way through the Brothers defence to score what was a vital try.
With another screamer from the sideline from Rigney, Redlands could smell an upset with only five minutes left on the clock.
But in the blink of an eye, Brothers found some space on the right edge and swung the ball out to Kelly who again crossed the whitewash for his hat-trick.
With Purcell needing to convert the conversion to level it up, the ball held up in the wind and was waved away.
With the siren sounding, Brothers had one last chance to snatch victory.
Some Purcell magic saw the speedster toe the ball ahead in a race to the line, but it was batted away by the Parakeets who hung on to cause the upset.