The Townsville Blackhawks and Brisbane Tigers are the two teams left standing in the Hastings Deering Colts, after a blockbuster weekend of preliminary finals action.
The Blackhawks and the Tigers both took a while to warm up over the weekend but when they did, they both showed they are two worthy combatants.
Reigning premiers Townsville are back on grand final day after winning through to another Colts grand final with a clinical and laser-like focus in their 24-12 win over the Tweed Seagulls at UAA Park.
The first half didn’t show too much with both sides finding their bearings.
It was an error-riddled opening stanza before Townsville took it up a notch in the second half and Tweed fell away.
Four second half tries from the Blackhawks showed a classic display of what finals football is all about.
Match: Seagulls v Blackhawks
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: UAA Park, Gold Coast
Skipper and fullback Ragarive Wavik had huge numbers with 205 run metres and two goals. He was a constant presence and danger out the back.
Winger Jesse Yallop meanwhile racked up two line breaks and two tries while centre Dudley Dotoi also scored a double to make sure the Blackhawks are there again next Sunday at Kayo Stadium.
Hooker Joel Baldwin was outstanding in defence with 40 tackles, with the Tweed attack left frustrated by the physical Blackhawks.
Then on Sunday, it was the Tigers' turn to make their statement.
Match: Tigers v Dolphins
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Totally Workwear Stadium, Brisbane
The Tigers and Redcliffe Dolphins traded punches early with both teams scoring in the first five minutes.
The Dolphins had the lead and were looking good but then - just like the Blackhawks - the Tigers found their rhythm and were humming along from there.
The Tigers' four tries in 25 minutes won them the match.
Heavy lifter: Simon Pratt
Prop Casey Morgan was outstanding again for the Tigers with 223 run metres while Brock Ashton made 43 tackles to stop the Dolphins' attack from gaining any momentum.
Fullback Lachlan West nabbed a double while Tigers co-skipper Simon Pratt put in a true captain's knock with a hat-trick, 116 run metres, six tackle breaks and 23 tackles.
The Tigers’ defence was so good the Dolphins didn’t score for 65 minutes. That’s the kind of effort needed to win premierships.
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