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Statewide score wrap: The curse of the minor premiership

The In Safe Hands minor premiership curse has struck again with the Valleys Diehards falling victim to the phenomenon at the hands of West Brisbane Panthers at the weekend.

Since the recommencement of the Brisbane Rugby League A Grade competition in 2015, no team who has finished first on the ladder has gone on to qualify for the big dance, let alone win.

The victory by Panthers earns them a match-up against defending premiers Wynnum Manly, who will be aiming for a three-peat when they take on the mud and bloods Saturday.

Also this weekend, a local derby between Goodna and Ipswich will decide the Volunteers Cup in Ipswich; and minor premiers Runaway Bay face defending premiers Burleigh for Gold Coast's QTOP Premiership at Cbus Super Stadium.

In Safe Hands Cup - Brisbane

The West Brisbane Panthers broke their 27-year Brisbane Rugby League grand final drought on Saturday, downing Valleys 42-16 at Grange.

The Panthers drew first blood in the 15th minute when Zach Lister scored on the right edge, and caught Valleys off-guard again five minutes later when Gerard McCallum threw a dummy to open up a hole the try-line.

More points were on offer with 15 minutes to go in the first half as Tommy Butterfield shot out and found room before passing to Kyle Van Klaverin for his four-pointer.

Looking unenthused, Valleys half Simon Brittain-Snowden gave the Diehards something to cheer about when he broke away to run 40 metres for their first points; and he was in again with seven minutes remaining, reducing the deficit to just eight points at the break.

Things got ugly for the home side in the second half when Wests shot out to a 30-10 lead, before Rashaun Denny gave the men in blue a glimmer of hope with 14 minutes remaining. But a further two tries to Wests, including Corban Daniels' double, sealed victory for the mud and bloods - giving them their first grand final berth since 1994.

At Wynnum, the Seagulls avoided an early scare to book their chance to lift the In Safe Hands Cup three years in a row, overcoming an eager Carina Tigers 28-20.

The Tigers were the first to claim points when Will Bohning scooted from dummy-half in the third minute, and they extended their lead to 12-0 five minutes later when Bailey Bartley found space to cross the chalk.

Wynnum Manly were quick to hit back when a well-executed cut-out pass was delivered to Rahkeem Auda to dive over the line untouched, and even after a hard-fought 20 minutes by the Tigers, the 'Gulls were in again through a set play from the scrum on the half line - Harrison Graham running into the sunset to minimise the deficit to just two points.

With 10 to play in the first half, the Seagulls were in again to take the lead for the first time in the game, and the Tigers had a complete lapse of concentration in defence as the defending premiers piled on two more tries to suddenly lead 26-12 at the break.

In a scrappy second half, the Tigers fought back to score two tries and trail 26-20 with 20 minutes remaining, and an enthralling contest played out for the next 15 minutes, until an ill-disciplined penalty right in front of the posts allowed Wynnum Manly captain Aaron Booth to throw it over from right in front and book a ticket in the big dance against Wests at Pathion Park Saturday.

Preliminary final results

West Brisbane Panthers 42 (Corban Daniels 2, Zach Lister, Kyle Van Klaverin, Jordan Brown, Gerard McCallum, Brandon Downey tries; Kyle Van Klaverin 7 goals) defeated Valleys Roosters 16 (Simon Brittain-Snowden 2, Rashaun Denny tries; Scott Prince 2 goals)
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28 (Harrison Graham 2, Max Plath, Junior Pauga, Rahkeem Auda tries; Max Plath 3, Aaron Booth goals) defeated Carina Tigers 20 (Will Bohning 2, Bailey Bartley, Connor Carey tries; Zak Taibi 2 goals)

Final ladder

# Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Valleys Diehards 10 8 1 1 +196 27
2 Wynnum Manly Seagulls 10 8 0 2 +204 26
3 Carina Tigers 10 7 1 2 +89 25
4 West Brisbane Panthers 10 7 0 3 +121 24
5 Pine Rivers Bears 10 3 1 6 -122 17
6 Normanby Hounds 10 2 1 7 -151 15
7 Brighton Roosters 10 2 0 8 -83 14
8 Bulimba Bulldogs 10 1 0 9 -254 12

QTOP A Grade Premiership - Gold Coast

The minor premiers are set to face off against the defending premiers in the QTOP A Grade Premiership decider after wins to Runaway Bay and Burleigh at the weekend's semi-finals.

At Pizzey Park on Saturday, the stage was set for a grand final rematch between the Bears and Southport, with the Tigers drawing first blood through a try to Callum Burgess-Boomer in the 16th minute.

But it was all one-way traffic from that moment as the home side shot out to a 14-6 lead at the break. 

The beaten grand finalists fought back in the second 40 when Burgess-Boomer scored his double to only trail by two points, before Shallin Fuller broke the line to put the Bears further in front.

The Tigers setup a grandstand finish when Lee Turner crossed in the corner with just over 10 minutes to go, but the Bears hung on, booking their spot to chance their hand at defending their title against competition favourites, Runaway Bay.

Up against the competition dark horses, the Seagulls were blown away by Mudgeeraba in the opening 15 minutes, trailing 8-0; but they hit back in quick succession, and all of a sudden, had put 24 unanswered points on the Redbacks going into half-time.

Runaway Bay Seagulls half Guy Hamilton. Photo: KPM Sport Images
Runaway Bay Seagulls half Guy Hamilton. Photo: KPM Sport Images

Joshua Bukowski bagged his double straight after the break, giving Mudgeeraba a sniff at 24-12; but the points dried up for the visitors as the Bay kept their unbeaten streak alive, advancing to next week's decider with a comprehensive 34-12 victory at home.

The two competition heavyweights will face off at 5.30pm Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium with tickets available from Ticketek.

Semi-final results

Burleigh Bears 20 (Jayden Campbell, Shallin Fuller, Joshua Ailaomai tries; Jayden Campbell 4 goals) defeated Southport Tigers 16 (Callum Burgess-Boomer 2, Lee Turner tries; Callum Burgess-Boomer 2 goals)
Runaway Bay Seagulls 34 (John Mackin 2, Jake Powell, Jenan Wedderburn-Parrish, Darcy Sims tries; Jake Powell 7 goals) defeated Mudgeeraba Redbacks 12 (Joshua Bukowski 2 tries; Kyle Williams 2 goals)

Final ladder

# Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Runaway Bay Seagulls 8 7 1 0 +51 29
2 Burleigh Bears 9 6 0 3 +114 24
3 Southport Tigers 9 5 0 4 +79 22
4 Mudgeeraba Redbacks 8 4 0 4 -24 22
5 Currumbin Eagles 9 3 0 6 -24 18
6 Tugun Seahawks 9 3 0 6 -118 18
7 Ormeau Shearers 8 1 1 6 -78 17

Volunteers Cup - Ipswich

The anticipation is growing for the an Ipswich derby to determine the Volunteers Cup after both Norths and Goodna progressed to the big dance with comprehensive wins over their opponents last Saturday.

The second-placed Valleys Roosters were blown away by the Tigers in a first-half masterclass from the Northern Suburbs side, bouncing back from last week's loss to West End by shutting out the defending Toowoomba premiers with a sizeable 24-6 lead when the hooter sounded at half-time.

The grand final favourites just never got into the game, nor were they allowed to by the Tigers - who controlled the ruck and speed of the game sensationally.

Centre Tonga Mounga was an easy pick for player of the match, scoring two tries and converting six goals to score half of the Tigers' points, as well as dominating his opposition in a spirited defensive showing.


North Ipswich Tigers are the first team into the GF with a 40-12 victory over Valleys. Let’s hear Coach Mick Newton’s thoughts.

Posted by Rugby League Ipswich on Saturday, 10 October 2020

The win sets up a fierce standoff against Goodna, who were clinical against West End in the second semi-final.

The Eagles have been waiting for this time of year for the past month, and when the Bulldogs' opening kick-off didn't go ten metres, they capitalised from the penalty, scoring in the opening set.

Some incredible resilience was shown by Jae Woodward's men to crawl back and lead 8-6, but from that point on, the colossal side took full control by scoring five unanswered tries to steam past the challengers and win 38-12, booking a place in the big dance against Norths.

The grand final is the first South East Queensland decider to take centre stage on Saturday at 3pm at North Ipswich Reserve.

Semi-final results

Norths Tigers 40 (Kyle Blackman 2, Tonga Mounga 2, Ethan Page, Ritchie Lowe, Lewis Smith tries; Tonga Mounga 6 goals) defeated Valleys Roosters 12 (Josh Chappell, Curtly Hammond tries; Josh Chappell 2 goals)
Goodna Eagles 38 (Elone Taufa 2, Wilson Malaesilia, John Schwalger, Fa’ata’ape Timai, Chris Schwalger, Ben Niumata tries; Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga 4, Leevai Sutton goals) defeated West End Bulldogs 12 (Classie Oti, Harold Mosby, Ligi Nonoa-Hansell tries)

Final ladder

# Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Goodna Eagles 10 9 0 1 +188 18
2 Valleys Roosters 10 7 0 3 +65 14
3 Norths Tigers 10 6 0 4 +2 12
4 West End Bulldogs 10 4 0 6 +52 8
5 Souths Tigers 10 2 0 8 -130 4
6 Gatton Hawks 10 2 0 8 -177 4


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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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