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Finals Week 2 preview: Teams prepare for elimination games

There will be two Hastings Deerings Colts finals played this weekend, with Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Tweed Seagulls facing off on Saturday and Sunshine Coast Falcons and Redcliffe Dolphins going head-to-head on Sunday.

It’s a case of déjà vu for Wynnum Manly, who have been forced to follow the same path through the finals this year after going through the hard way to win the title last season.

On Saturday, it will be a battle of the Seagulls; but in the defending premiers' favour is the fact they have won the past two ‘flockbuster’ events and will aiming for three in a row.

Last weekend Wynnum Manly lost 24-20 to Central Queensland Capras after they were starved of the ball. Having only had 47 per cent possession, the Seagulls did well to score 20 points.

There were some strong performers however including winger Luke Phillip who was tower of power with 212 run metres for his team coming out of trouble, while Nathan Ward made 36 tackles. Felix Faatilli came off the bench and had a massive impact with two tries.

In the match, Wynnum Manly just put their defence under too much pressure and that told in the end; 314 tackles was 42 more tackles than what the Capras had to make.

Wynnum Manly coach Michael Dobson said his team took some lessons away from the loss.

“I think we can learn a lot from that experience, the Capras were very good,” Dobson said.

“We had to travel up there, against a good side, had two in the bin and we left plenty of opportunities out there.

“That’s just not good finals football.

“Felix was fantastic for us, he could have easily got three tries off the bench.

“It’s a good wake up call for us and something we need to listen to.”

Their opposition this week Tweed Seagulls come into this match on a high after they completed the greatest turn around in league history.

In the last regular round of the season, they were beaten 42-12 by the Tigers, but in Finals Week 1, they were able to post a 28-24 win against them.

Tweed had 42 per cent of the ball in both games; but in their last round, their 40 missed tackles saw the Tigers score eight tries, while in Finals Week 1, their 41 missed tackles only conceded four tries.

Jack Cullen was a tackling machine with 36 tackles to top the count for the game while Caleb Hodges made 149 run metres.

Heavy lifter - Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson was put in a Hastings Deering Heavy lifter winning performance, while half Tom Weaver kicked four from five and made a line break.

Tweed Seagulls coach Aaron Zimmerle loved the effort and result.

“We finished eighth and won right at the finish of week one against the team that beat us by 30 in the last round,” Zimmerle said.

“Now we take on the premiers.

“We want to shock the world and keep going.

“We changed a few things from the last round and the week one effort is our benchmark for effort and grit.

“We won our momentum back; if we lost the ball we tackled to get it back and got it back.

“To beat the teams from here we are going to need to add some polish to our performance.”

The winner of this game will face the Townsville Blackhawks.

Redcliffe Dolphins in action against Townsville Blackhawks in Finals Week 1. Photo: Robbie Bolton / QRL
Redcliffe Dolphins in action against Townsville Blackhawks in Finals Week 1. Photo: Robbie Bolton / QRL

In this weekend’s other match, the  Falcons and Dolphins will meet on Sunday.

The Dolphins lost to Townsville Blackhawks 36-20 last weekend and it was a slow start that cost them. Townsville had three tries by the 28th minute and a 18-10 lead at half-time.

Thomas Duffy was at his stepping best and got his way through twice on the back of a Jesse Yallop break.

While the Dolphins made fewer tackles than the Blackhawks, Townsville were more effective with the ball, leading to the Dolphins having to chase hard to cover.

Logan Cox was a strong performer for Redcliffe and can certainly be happy with is effort with 39 tackles, while in attack Jack Aiken made 160 run metres. Ali Leiataua scored two tries in three minutes and more of that will be needed.

Coach Ben Te’o said his side still needed to play a full game to their potential.

“I don’t think we have played 80 minutes all season, probably the most we have played is 65 minutes,” Te’o said.

“We have been good in patches, but finals require more than that.

“We need 80 minutes of consistent football.

“Our spine will play a vital part in that, they control our position on the field and they have to carry that responsibility this game.

“The Blackhawks got off to a great start and are a great team and were too good.”

The Falcons will be happy coming off their win against Mackay Cutters which granted them a home final.

The Falcons had three tries in the first 24 minutes for a perfect final start and from there, it all ran smoothy for the Falcons who saw their own “big three” help get the job done.

Jai Smoothy particularly was impressive for the Falcons with six goals, while Kaleb Sutton was tremendous with 170 run metres. Hooker Danny Heenan pitched in with 29 tackles.

Falcons coach Jamie Vogler said the team took their medicine from Mackay earlier in the year, but came back to get the result in the finals.

“We spoke about the last time we played Mackay and how they bullied us,” Vogler said.

“Now onto Redcliffe who beat us by 40 this season and again we let their halves do whatever they want so that will be first on our list of things to do... make sure their halves are not running riot.

“The Blackhawks played well against the Dolphins and really went through them and that’s similar to how we play so the plan is there if you’re good enough to execute it.”

The winner of this game will play Central Queensland Capras.

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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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