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Eighty-four years in the making: Fresh chapter awaits for BRL foes

The Wests and Valleys duel in Brisbane's Premier A Grade is one of the oldest in Queensland's history... but it's truly amazing they haven't faced off in the big dance since 1937.

It's an interesting twist to this weekend’s decider, especially for those interested in statistics, that the Panthers and Diehards have only met twice in a BRL A Grade grand final.

That happened way back in 1936 when West Brisbane defeated Valleys 13-12, with Valleys turning the tables the next year winning 9-7 some 84 years ago... the two haven't met on the big day since.

With both sides coming off tough wins last weekend, it’s a toss of the coin as to who will take the spoils come Saturday afternoon.

Another interesting point to note is that a familiar surname will feature on the team sheet, but this time not for the Panthers as it has been in previous seasons.

The Ingebrigtsen family is synonymous in Brisbane Rugby League circles with Craig 'Trigger' Ingebrigtsen a long-serving mentor for mud and bloods in years gone by, including last season when the Panthers fell agonisingly short of Wynnum Manly in the decider. 

However, on the opposite side of the fence is the former Intrust Super Cup coach's son Tye - who along with Nathan Hughes, will take on the more experienced Ingebrigtsen's former club in what promises to be a mouth-watering showdown.

Tye and Craig Ingebrigsten.
Tye and Craig Ingebrigsten.

The Valleys co-coaches are the quite the dynamic duo having both coached at the top level, with Hughes a successful coach taking Brighton Roosters and the Beerwah Bulldogs to grand finals and having played in the local Second Division competition alongside his co-mentor.

However, driving Ingebrigtsen Jnr to taste victory on Saturday will be the potential to win three grand finals from three various strong corridors in Queensland.

“Yeah, I’m not really a stats man myself. But when I think about it, I have won grand finals in North Queensland and Central Queensland and hopefully, I can add the South East to that list as well," Ingebrigtsen Jnr said.

"It’ll be just another game for us doing what we have done all year and not worrying about the other distractions that come with a grand final.

"I like to think of us as the underdogs though, considering we finished behind the Panthers on points on the ladder."

Leading into the finals, West Brisbane have beaten some formidable opposition and will be looking for redemption this weekend against the royal blue, having been beaten by the Diehards twice this season with only six points separating the two sides.

The Panthers' finals series has been most impressive, sweeping aside Pine Rivers 62-10 in the elimination semi-final before nudging aside Wynnum Manly 48-16 in the preliminary final, avenging for last year's grand final defeat by knocking out the second-placed Seagulls.

Incredibly though, the Diehards were made to work in their finals campaign, digging deep to overcome a strong Bulimba Bulldogs 32-24 and upset minor premiers Normanby Hounds 38-24 in a thriller at Bert St Clair Oval last weekend.

Tempers flared in the Round 2 clash between the two rivals. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Tempers flared in the Round 2 clash between the two rivals. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

Coach Hughes laments the disappointment of missing out on the big dance in 2020, but is confident he, along with Ingebrigtsen Jnr, can get the job done on Saturday.

“Valleys is a strong club that keeps getting stronger each year. We’ve really assembled a cracking squad that Tye and I are proud of," the Diehards co-mentor said.

"It’s going to be a vocal grand final as both Valleys and Wests have some of the most passionate supporters in Brisbane Rugby League.

"I can’t think of another grand final I have been involved in with so much at stake.

"It’s a great thing for the competition.”

Rest assured, the older generation fans from the glory days of the old Brisbane Rugby League will be watching this grand final with interest as well and it’s certainly going to be the showdown that everybody is looking forward to.

Diehards or Panthers?

The whole of Brisbane waits with interest.

The 2021 Brisbane Premier A Grade grand final kicks off at 4pm on Saturday, October 9, at BMD Kougari Oval, Wynnum.