2023 Minor Premiers Bulimba return to the park after a two-week layoff with round 18 being the Bulldogs scheduled bye.
Accompanying the minor premiership is a week off, giving the Bulldogs plenty of time plenty of time to rest up and start a fresh. Due to fencing arrangement for gate attendance the home ground advantage is somewhat lost as they meet the Seagulls at Emerson Park from 3.00pm Saturday.
Wynnum-Manly juniors were in a similar situation last week when they hosted the qualifying final away from their home ground of Kitchener Park. The Seagulls recovered from a 14-0 deficit against Brighton, eventually overcoming the Roosters 40-24 to progress to this weekend’s major semi-final with Bulimba.
The juniors have some impressive form of late defeating premiers West Brisbane 31-12 in round 17 then slaughtering the Magpies 68-20 in the final round on top of last weekend’s triumph. Cauius ‘Fatal’ Faatili will look to add to his three tries last start and there are plenty of other chalk crossers lining up. The seasons leading point scorer Jalen Reweti and second place try scoring guru Kelepi Faukafa just to name a few will be a handful. Evergreen half Tim Tupou has relished his opportunity in the halves adding his guile and wisdom to the flock.
Bulimba were humbled by Brighton 32-16 in round 16 against Brighton then responded against a determined Normanby with 20-12 win. The loss from the Panthers to Carina gifted the minor premiership to Bulimba and the extended rest.
Butch and Sundance aka Hayden Herbert and Bradley Russel will again be instrumental if Bulimba are to secure a grand final place and another week off. Throw in the seventh forward Jack Stafford with Thomas O’Keefe leading the big dogs up the middle and the middle of Emerson Park will not be a nice place to be.
2022 Premiers the Panthers are still alive and determined to go back to back. Wests returned a more disciplined and structured 80 minutes to end Valleys 2023 campaign 30-10 after a narrow loss to Carina that has them playing sudden death footy each week.
That continues when they travel to Jim Lawrie Oval for a 4.30pm minor semi final with Brighton. The Roosters suffered their first loss in nine weeks last week and with all three grades at home, the Panthers will be walking into a sea of tricolored supporters.
Wests centres Eddie Tautali and Josh Hoffman ignited the Panthers and with some brilliance of Simon Brittain Snowden doing his thing, the mud and blood looked back to their near best a week ago. Brighton have some big boys and they will need to aim up against crash ball runners Faafetai Vaavale and Kahli Kali Junior who are near impossible to stop 10 metres out. Brighton do have the big boys and they are also a nimble footed lot. Thomas McKenzie, Dilbert Issac and Brayden Dee are ruthless but then you add Zion ‘Zoolander’ Johnson at the back which turns the minor semi final into a tipsters nightmare.