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Panthers and Tigers remain in the hunt

The In Safe Hands Cup has four clubs remaining in the fight for the title after West Brisbane and Carina progressed after the elimination finals.

The Panthers, 22-8 victors over Pine Rivers, and the Tigers' 26-18 win over Normanby has them now pitted against the top two sides of 2020, Valleys and Wynnum, for the golden tickets to the big dance.

Wests and Pine Rivers were locked at 4-4 at half-time after the Bears scored minutes before the break; but the second half belonged to the Panthers as they held their opponents scoreless to progress to Emerson Park where the minor premiers await.

Carina got away to a flyer to lead Normanby 18-0 going to the sheds; however, they had to hold off a comeback from the Hounds in the second 40, who tried their hearts out to upset the home side.

But a scintillating hat-trick from Carina winger Ronald Philitoga ensured the Tigers were off to the other grand final qualifier against the second-placed Seagulls at Kitchener Park.

The first of the preliminary finals will take place at the home of the Diehards at 3pm.

In Round 3, the Panthers came back from a 30-16 deficit to take the win against Valleys 32-30, but the tables were turned in Round 8 when the Diehards took the points, 38-28.

The top of the ladder finish earned the minor premiers a week off after 10 gruelling rounds, allowing them to be fresh and looking a treat when the neighbours come over to play.

Captained by the leading point-scorer of the competition, Scott Prince, Valleys have the advantage at home and would love nothing better than to inflict a sixth-straight finals loss to the Panthers.

The boys in blue also have the leading try-scorer Jayden Corrigan in their spine that have played together for the majority of the season.

Wests have shuffled their backline all season, but have named the same seven players who ended the Bears season last week.

While both the Panthers and Diehards have qualified for the finals every year since the reintroduction of the Brisbane Rugby League competition, Wests have yet to make it to the decider; unlike Valleys, who appeared as early as last season.

There is nothing better to watch than the neighbours having a little brewhaha and this little donnybrook will be worth the visit to Grange this Saturday afternoon.

The Seagulls will host the Tigers in the second preliminary final at 4.30pm at Kitchener Park.

Much like the matchup of the earlier preliminary final, both teams have won one match each this year, the most recent being the Tigers' Round 10 victory to deny Wynnum Manly the minor premiership.

The Seagulls had been leading the competition for a majority of the season on the back of the combination between halves Max Plath and Aaron Booth; but this week, the 'twins' will be separated with Ben Farr to partner Booth.

The mental edge of the recent victory by the Tigers, albeit at Carina, could be enough to topple the back-to-back premiers, who are aiming up for the three-peat.

The Seagulls will relish the inclusion of Max Elliott after avoiding suspension from his Round 10 early departure; meanwhile, the Tigers welcome back the nimble-hippy Jarred Tuite.

The clash between two of the biggest packs will be one to savour, as will be the speed men of Philitoga and the Gulls' Ratu Rotavisoro.

Wynnum Manly have had plenty of success in winning two of the three deciders they have played in, while the Tigers are chasing their maiden grand final berth.

The two winners of the prelims will face off at 4pm next Saturday, October 17 in the In Safe Hands Cup grand final at Pathion Park, Nundah.

*Main image courtesy of Vanessa Hafner

In Safe Hands Cup preliminary finals

Saturday, October 10

Time Match Venue
3pm Valleys Diehards v West Brisbane Panthers Emerson Park, Grange
4.30pm Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Carina Tigers Kitchener Park, Wynnum


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