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Mal Meninga Cup grand final preview

Mal Meninga Cup grand final time is here and the battle of the Gold Coast will take place on Saturday at Redcliffe's Kayo Stadium.

No one knows grand finals like Mal Meninga - the man the competition is named after - with the NRL Immortal having won premierships with the Magpies in 1981 and 1985 and then the Raiders in 1989, 1990 and 1994.

On Saturday two proud teams will go at it again.

“I’m very excited with two very consistent sides going head-to-head in the final,” Meninga said.

“It's two strong Queensland nurseries pitted against each other.

“The Tweed Seagulls, perennial finalists, against the might of the Bears, who have an excellent pathway system.

"Congratulations to both sides and may the best team on the day win.”

The Burleigh Bears have won through to their first grand final after beating the defending premiers in the Redcliffe Dolphins two weeks ago.

Apart from the first five minutes, the qualifying final showdown was all about the Bears as they put in one of the most dominant finals performances in Mal Meninga Cup history.

They had 68 per cent of the ball, seven line breaks and eight tries, only missing 18 tackles.

Amare Milford was a tower of power in the middle of the field and ran for 176 metres while Hayden Watson made 20 tackles.

Disharne Tonihi excelled with two tries to add to his 16 total in 2024, proving to be an absolute nightmare for teams to stop.

Bears coach Ben Linde is ready and excited for Saturday.

“I am really excited,” Linde said.

“It’s exciting that it’s a Coast battle.

“I am very proud of that side and love the club. It’s the first time the Bears have played in a (Mal Meninga Cup) grand final and I am just grateful and happy.

“Tweed are a very good team - they’re well-coached and unbeaten for a reason. Zane Harrison is a great half and he will be pivotal to everything they do well.

“Our middles need to stand up and keep the middle in tact because Tweed’s middle is fantastic."

Tweed have all the running against Burleigh in recent times, having won their last three meetings.

The Bears haven’t beaten the Seagulls since Round 6, 2021 - coincidentally a year in which Tweed went on to win the grand final.

The Tweed Seagulls are into their first Mal Meninga Cup grand final since they beat Townsville in that 2021 decider and they haven’t lost a game yet in 2024.

Against the Jets in the qualifying finals, Tweed showed plenty of resilience after the Jets scored the first two tries.

Mason Barber was outstanding with 196 metres and two line breaks ending in one try, and his finals performances and versatility have been massive for the Seagulls.

Tweed coach Sam Meskell is dealing with a strange preparation but is getting ready.

“It’s a bit strange to play a prelim final and then wait two weeks,” Meskell said of the two week break in between games.

“We have to get through the school boys carnival and then from a Tweed perspective hope we have everyone ready to go on Saturday.

“Bears are such a strong side and we saw that against the Dolphins... I wasn’t expecting that score.

“The Bears have strengths all over the field and their key players like (Bailey) McConnell and (Cooper) Bai will be important on Saturday.

“We have to defend well, that’s first, because they can score a lot of points.

“It’s a great day and a grand final, it’s the biggest game and the fact Tweed and Burleigh have such a rich history just adds to it."

Catch all the Mal Meninga Cup grand final action live and free on and Kayo Freebies.

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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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