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Brisbane Red powers to XXXX League Championship semi-final win

Brisbane Red is on its way to the XXXX League Championship final after overpowering Toowoomba 46-14 in the semi-final at Clive Berghofer Stadium.

The visitors scored seven second half tries to two to run away with a comprehensive win on the back of a dominant forward display on Saturday.

The two sides got into an arm wrestle for the opening 15 minutes, but Brisbane Red slowly gained the upper hand on the back of penalties coming out of their own end.

It eventually told when prop Dilbert Issac crashed over to open the scoring.

Toowoomba took the opportunity to reset and soon found their way into attacking position. A jinking run from hooker Harry Sullivan, who received the ball from dummy half before stepping past several players off his left foot, created the overlap for Geoffrey Prince to dive over the corner and open their account.

The Clydesdales chanced their arm a few times, including with a kick from their own end that had them crossing the stripe, only for it to be denied for a chaser being deemed offside.

Dilbert Issac scores the opening try. Photo: Jacob Grams/QRL
Dilbert Issac scores the opening try. Photo: Jacob Grams/QRL

Toowoomba could have levelled it up before the break after being awarded a penalty in front of the posts with one minute to go, but instead went into half-time down 6-4.

Brisbane Red then shot out of the gates with renewed vigour in the second half, with Savaan Tahere sneaking over from dummy half following a powerful set of six to open the half.

The Clydesdales compounded the pressure when a player was found offside from the short kickoff.

After the ensuing set, a scrum feed awarded to Brisbane Red was the perfect opportunity for fullback Pemulwuy Yanner to show off his fleet footwork and score. Hayden Herbert's conversion made it 18-4 after 48 minutes.

It only snowballed from there as Brisbane Red continued to march up the middle and put on several entertaining tries to wrap up a strong win.

Toowoomba never gave up despite the scoreline and crossed for two consolation tries in the final five minutes, one of them an amazing try to Dylan Chown following a chip kick over the top from Trae Bennetto, which he regathered before putting in another kick for his winger. 

Brisbane Red coach Darren Ferricks said his side was "too frantic" trying to push passes in the first half, before a much more composed second stanza in which they showed their full potential.

"There was a lot of space out there and we were pushing the pass, so we went back to our game plan that we obviously stuck with, which was to erupt hard and just play fast and we did that in that second half, so I was really pleased," he said.

"We were confident going into that second half. We thought we were controlling the middle third really well and then we did that again in that second half, so it was good.

"Everyone just did their job."

Ferricks said his forwards were outstanding, but praised interchange hooker Savaan Tahere for bringing them on to the ball well and capitalising on quick play-the-balls.

"I thought Savaan Tahere, our bench hooker, came off the bench and dictated that the forwards there in that second half.

"Every forward was outstanding for me, they just kept working hard and it's hard to point out who was good.

"Our halves obviously dictated again, Hayden (Herbert) gets us around the paddock and controls us well and we just really wanted to finish our sets off in that second half, and we did."

Tahere said he was fortunate to be in a position to contribute to the win.

"They do all the work and I just do all the shiny stuff at the back of it," he said.

"Especially when Sammy (Wallis, Brisbane Red prop) came on at the end there, there was plenty of room for me to go.

"Obviously that first half was a bit messy for us.

"But once we had the ball and started to get a roll on, it was easy.

"Once we had the chat at half-time we just all pulled together and everyone bought into the game plan, we stuck with that and that's what got us over the line."

The Wynnum Manly Juniors hooker said he didn't know much about Brisbane Red's XXXX League Championship final opponent - XXXX Foley Shield winners Cairns - but said the team was up for the challenge.

"It's pretty exciting to be.... having a run against those fellas. I'm not too sure on what their team looks like, but I'm sure it'll go well," Tahere said.

The XXXX League Championship final between Brisbane Red and Cairns will take place at Logan Metro Sports Complex on Saturday, July 29.

Main image: Izaac Sykring was one of several strong performers in the Brisbane Red team on Saturday. Photo: Jacob Grams/QRL

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