A five-try bonanza from Michael Purcell has steered Brisbane Blue to the XXXX A Grade League Championship final, securing the Chairman's Challenge with a clinical display of rugby league at the weekend.
The Brisbane Tigers-contracted fullback was electric in his South East Queensland representative debut; amassing more than half of his team's 34 points by scoring four tries and kicking three goals in their first-up encounter against 2019 champions Gold Coast.
Purcell then happily sat back and played second fiddle to team mate and Normanby Hounds five-eighth Lachlan Cooper as he bagged four tries in their 50-12 domination of Ipswich, with Purcell picking up another four-pointer of his own to wrap up the weekend and the title at Brandon Park, Acacia Ridge.
"It's always good to come out and have a run around and play with different blokes, so it was a good weekend of footy," Purcell said after the win.
'It was a good weekend of footy' - Purcell
The title was coach Wayne Barnett's first Chairman's Challenge victory in his first year at the helm, and believes it - along with the new XXXX League Championship - is a great opportunity to see the best community rugby league talent on display.
"I think it's a really good idea. You get to see a lot of talent and the way the coaches prepare teams and the teams that are out there playing," Barnett said.
"We've now got the opportunity to be the top regional team in Queensland.
"Not many other regional teams or players can attain to that and it being the inaugural one, I think it's a great idea."
'You get to see a lot of talent' - Barnett
Barnett's Brisbane Blue side will now watch with interest when Mackay and Toowoomba face off on June 19 to see who they'll meet in the decider, with the head coach having previous experience with both potential opponents.
"I've actually coached in Toowoomba and I just came from Mackay, so I know both competitions really well and both comps are strong comps and it'll all come down to their personnel that they put on the day," Barnett said.
"For us, it'll be who stays injury-free and suspension-free and availability is going to be our biggest issue.
"But with the combinations we've been able to build over the weekend, I'm pretty confident we can put a plan together and we're probably lucky that we only have to play one game.
"Mackay and Toowoomba have to bash each other hopefully and beat each other up [in a tough contest] and we can play from there."
It was a clean sweep for the river city with the Rugby League Brisbane under 20s also lifting silverware at full-time; thanks to a 26-18 win over Ipswich and 30-10 victory over Gold Coast.
Chairman's Challenge results
Brisbane Blue 34 (Michael Purcell 4, Zacchues Chong-Nee, Henderson Godrey, Kelepi Faukafa tries; Michael Purcell 3 goals) defeated Gold Coast 20 (Luke Burton, Allan Lockwood, Brogan Melrose, Queille Murray tries; Shallin Fuller 2 goals)
Brisbane Red 50 (Luke Pollock 3, Oliver Pascoe 2, Auzzie Tuwhangai 2, Esera Esera, Tristan Hope tries; Kyle Van Klaveren 5, Tristan Hope 2 goals) defeated Ipswich 12 (Christian Mikaele, Elijah Umu tries; Ratunaisa Vatuinaruku 2 goals)
Gold Coast 34 (John Mackin 2, Queille Murray 2, Latrelle Howe 2 tries; Shallin Fuller 5 goals) defeated Brisbane Red 28 (Tristan Hope 2, Kyle Coghill 2, Sam Lavea tries; Tristan Hope 3, Kyle Van Klaveren goals)
Brisbane Blue 44 (Lachlan Cooper 4, Michael Purcell, Khan Ahwang, Clayton Mack, Justin Fai tries; Khan Ahwang 4, Dray Ngatuere-Wroe, Michael Purcell goals) defeated Ipswich 12 (Ratunaisa Vatuinaruku, Keenan Yorston, Dominic Macumboy tries)
Brisbane 26 (Jaxon Knott 3, Pemulwuy Yanner 2, Cody Hunter tries; Charlie Kwock-Sun Barker goal) defeated Ipswich 18 (Lachlan Williamson, Shane Tolova'a, Calbe Wells tries; Lachlan Williamson 3 goals)
Gold Coast 44 (Joshua Evans 2, Tremaine Harry 2, Nelson Ewing, Jack Ward, Joshua Munckton, Luc Lyndon, Tyler Han tries; Tyler Han 4 goals) defeated Ipswich 6 (Shane Tolova'a try; Lachlan Williamson goal)
Brisbane 30 (Jude Saldanha 2, Jaxon Knott, Charlie Kwock-Sun Barker, Dijaune Raivaru, Germaine Bulsey tries; Cody Hunter 3 goals) defeated Gold Coast 10 (Adam Christensen, Joshua Evans tries; Tyler Han goal)