Grand final opponents in 2019, Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Tweed Seagulls, will face off on Saturday - but this time to earn a spot in this year's decider.
Match: WM Seagulls v Seagulls
Semi Final -
Venue: BMD Kougari Oval, Brisbane
Both the Wynnum Manly and Tweed sides are carrying similar form into the game, enjoying an undefeated regular season until they both suffered losses in Round 6.
Wynnum Manly coach Jesse Maclean said despite the recent loss, he believed his side were well and truly primed for their semi-final football against Tweed.
“We are really excited as a squad and as a club and it’s a great opportunity to be one win away from the final,” Maclean said.
“We are fully aware how difficult and how high-quality Tweed are, especially with them getting a lot of quality players back for the semi-final.
“They ask questions all over the park and if we are short anywhere, they are going to hurt us.”
Tweed coach Tim Maccan echoed a similar sentiment.
“We had a little hiccup on the weekend against Burleigh where we trialled a few new things, but we will back this weekend against Wynnum,” Maccan said.
“They’ve got a very strong side all over the park as well and they’re in the same boat, losing their first game last week, so we will need to be at our best to stop all their key players.
“They’re a strong team who get the job done, their completions are high, and they’ve got some really quality players in some key positions and they use that to their advantage and give them lots of ball so I’m expecting a pretty tough game.”
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Tweed Seagulls
While happy with how the season has progressed, Maclean was calling for some improvements in key areas in order to get across the line.
“Our strength has been our resilience because we back each other and there’s a lot of trust in the group,” Maclean said.
“But defensively we will need to improve a lot, particularly against Tweed’s big boys Jack Cullen and Jotham Russell in the middle who lay the platform for Thomas Weaver and their outside backs.”
Maccan said that his side had displayed high quality football all across the park, but some defensive tweaks needed to be addressed.
“I think we’ve got some strike all over,” Maccan said.
“Our forwards have been really good in the middle of the park, they’ve done a really good job to allow our outside backs to score some tries and get some results.
“I’m always big on defence, our ruck defence and goal line defence particularly will be a focus for this week.”
Both coaches said the game would be a high-quality defensive grind with points only coming off the back of opposition mistakes.
Maclean said when the game was hanging in the balance, he would be looking at several players from his side to stand up and get the job done.
"Our six and seven [Blake Moore and Cassius Cowley], plus our 12 [Kienan Tempest] have been really consistent, so we hope they can continue that and rise to the level of finals footy.”
Maccan said halfback and captain, Thomas Weaver, front-rower Jack Cullen, hooker Oskar Bryant and centres Kaleb Ngamanu and Deine Mariner had been instrumental during the regular season and would need to step up again this weekend.
“Thomas Weaver has been really good at directing our team around the park and we’ve had some really good support from the middles,” Maccan said.
“Oskar [Bryant] has been really creative around the ruck and our outside backs have carried well in attack and defended well when they’ve needed to.”
The battle of the Seagulls is the first of two semi-finals being played on Saturday at BMD Kougari Oval, with Townsville Blackhawks facing off against Central Queensland Capras at 3.30pm in the other semi-final.
Townsville Blackhawks v Central Queensland Capras