The Redcliffe Dolphins made their first Grand Final in four years, but not after the Sunshine Coast gave the minor premiers a big scare in the Preliminary Final at Redcliffe.

David aka the Sunshine Coast Falcons headed to Dolphin Oval to play their third straight Goliath on the road. Having knocked off the Hunters in PNG and Townsville up north, the Falcons headed into the game quietly confident. The wet afternoon looked like it would favour the Falcons who have ground out finals wins thus far, and the omission of Redcliffe star halfback Darren Nicholls was also advantage Falcons.

The Falcons took all that confidence and form on board, and were the much better team in the first 40 minutes. If it wasn’t for a try just before half time to the Dolphins, it looked like a straight sets loss for the minor premiers.

It was an arm wrestle early, Redcliffe had the upper hand early pressuring the Sunshine Coast who defended valiantly and cleaned up all fifth tackle plays. Redcliffe then had to defend, and did so well, after some errors allowed the Falcons to pressure.

But the Dolphins did crack in the 12th minute, after fullback Jack Ahearn failed to learn the lesson from last week against Burleigh, as he was caught short again trying to wish a ball over the dead ball line. Troy Giess, showing the commitment to the cause he has all season, chased hard and got the ball down around the Dolphins fullback’s boots. The kick conversion gave the Falcons a 6-0 lead.

A great opportunity to respond was wasted when the Danny Bridge passed the ball off the ground after being tackled just 1 metre out. Back to Back penalties for poor tackles against Redcliffe, and a bit of niggle started setting in. As well as big tackles. The impressive giant Kamikamica in particular put a big one on Curtis Johnson. It didn’t seem to both the angriest man in league.

A 40-20 kick appeared to give the Dolphins a lift, but once again were unable to convert after a knock on.

They paid for that a few minutes later as Sam Wright finished off an excellent move down the right that started from a bustling run and superb offload by 5/8 Alex Bishop up the middle on the 40m mark with a try in the corner. Kick converted made it 12-0.

It seemed the same script was being followed from last weekend against Burleigh. The only difference to the Burleigh game was that the Falcons weren’t quite as dominant as the Bears were, and Redcliffe weren’t heading to the sheds 28-0 down.

Redcliffe needed a try before half time and unlike last weekend they go it through Zac Strasser after he squeezed over in the 36th minute from just 10m out to reduce the gap to 12-6 after the conversion. After the tick of approval from the video referee, which couldn’t disprove the on ground decision of Try.

12-6 was the half time score, but the momentum had shifted to the home side.

Like last week the Dolphins scored within two minutes of the break when Danny Bridge crashed over on the left after Redcliffe were handed a repeat set after a Sunshine Coast knock down gave them a set starting on the 40m line. The conversion off the post locked the scores at 12-12.

If you weren’t paying attention the next try could have seemed an action replay of the previous try as the same combination involving Man of the Match Zach Strasser combined to send Danny Bridge over in the exact same spot as his try just three minutes before. The conversion made it 18-12 and the home side led for the first time of the afternoon, and the momentum and intensity life from Redcliffe gave a sign it was not one they were going to lose.

It certainly wasn’t and they extended the lead in the 55th minute through Josh Beehag after the Falcons gifted the ball to Redcliffe on the first tackle on the halfway. Just a few tackles later the winger had scored on the right and the Dolphins were 22-12 in front.

The three try onslaught had shocked the Falcons, and after they were unable to take advantage of good territory and ball. A cleverly weighted kick forced the Falcons fullback to throw the riskiest of in goal passes to his winger, who was promptly bundled into touch. A few tackles later and Redcliffe had may them pay full price with a try to the big man Harley Aiono off a short pass from just a few metres out. The successful conversion gave the Dolphins a 28-12 lead, and looked like the home side were off to Suncorp Stadium.

Redcliffe and in particular Dan Randall who weren’t done with yet after a big 80 metre run punishing a wayward pass from the Sunshine Coast to score the fifth try of the second half and to extend the lead more to 34-12. He also would have taken out the old award of closest try to the Can Bar corner.

The Dolphins could have extended their lead further in the 74th minute after a clever kick and chase, but the try was called back after Redcliffe players held back some Falcons chasers.

The pain was slightly reduced for the Sunshine Coast with a consolation try to fullback Eddie Tautali in the 78th minute to reduce the deficit. But that deficit was extended again as the home side snuck in one last score through Aaron Whitchurch to add a little salt in the wound just before the siren.

The Sunshine Coast have plenty to build on next year, and perhaps the consecutive road trips to PNG and Townsville took effect in the second half.

Redcliffe can look forward to a Grand Final and a shot at revenge over the Burleigh Bears on the big stage. The NRL Grand Final day awaits the winner too.

 

The Redcliffe Dolphins made their first Grand Final in four years, but not after the Sunshine Coast gave the minor premiers a big scare in the Preliminary Final at Redcliffe.

David aka the Sunshine Coast Falcons headed to Dolphin Oval to play their third straight Goliath on the road. Having knocked off the Hunters in PNG and Townsville up north, the Falcons headed into the game quietly confident. The wet afternoon looked like it would favour the Falcons who have ground out finals wins thus far, and the omission of Redcliffe star halfback Darren Nicholls was also advantage Falcons.

The Falcons took all that confidence and form on board, and were the much better team in the first 40 minutes. If it wasn’t for a try just before half time to the Dolphins, it looked like a straight sets loss for the minor premiers.

It was an arm wrestle early, Redcliffe had the upper hand early pressuring the Sunshine Coast who defended valiantly and cleaned up all fifth tackle plays. Redcliffe then had to defend, and did so well, after some errors allowed the Falcons to pressure.

But the Dolphins did crack in the 12th minute, after fullback Jack Ahearn failed to learn the lesson from last week against Burleigh, as he was caught short again trying to wish a ball over the dead ball line. Troy Giess, showing the commitment to the cause he has all season, chased hard and got the ball down around the Dolphins fullback’s boots. The kick conversion gave the Falcons a 6-0 lead.

A great opportunity to respond was wasted when the Danny Bridge passed the ball off the ground after being tackled just 1 metre out. Back to Back penalties for poor tackles against Redcliffe, and a bit of niggle started setting in. As well as big tackles. The impressive giant Kamikamica in particular put a big one on Curtis Johnson. It didn’t seem to both the angriest man in league.

A 40-20 kick appeared to give the Dolphins a lift, but once again were unable to convert after a knock on.

They paid for that a few minutes later as Sam Wright finished off an excellent move down the right that started from a bustling run and superb offload by 5/8 Alex Bishop up the middle on the 40m mark with a try in the corner. Kick converted made it 12-0.

It seemed the same script was being followed from last weekend against Burleigh. The only difference to the Burleigh game was that the Falcons weren’t quite as dominant as the Bears were, and Redcliffe weren’t heading to the sheds 28-0 down.

Redcliffe needed a try before half time and unlike last weekend they go it through Zac Strasser after he squeezed over in the 36th minute from just 10m out to reduce the gap to 12-6 after the conversion. After the tick of approval from the video referee, which couldn’t disprove the on ground decision of Try.

12-6 was the half time score, but the momentum had shifted to the home side.

Like last week the Dolphins scored within two minutes of the break when Danny Bridge crashed over on the left after Redcliffe were handed a repeat set after a Sunshine Coast knock down gave them a set starting on the 40m line. The conversion off the post locked the scores at 12-12.

If you weren’t paying attention the next try could have seemed an action replay of the previous try as the same combination involving Man of the Match Zach Strasser combined to send Danny Bridge over in the exact same spot as his try just three minutes before. The conversion made it 18-12 and the home side led for the first time of the afternoon, and the momentum and intensity life from Redcliffe gave a sign it was not one they were going to lose.

It certainly wasn’t and they extended the lead in the 55th minute through Josh Beehag after the Falcons gifted the ball to Redcliffe on the first tackle on the halfway. Just a few tackles later the winger had scored on the right and the Dolphins were 22-12 in front.

The three try onslaught had shocked the Falcons, and after they were unable to take advantage of good territory and ball. A cleverly weighted kick forced the Falcons fullback to throw the riskiest of in goal passes to his winger, who was promptly bundled into touch. A few tackles later and Redcliffe had may them pay full price with a try to the big man Harley Aiono off a short pass from just a few metres out. The successful conversion gave the Dolphins a 28-12 lead, and looked like the home side were off to Suncorp Stadium.

Redcliffe and in particular Dan Randall who weren’t done with yet after a big 80 metre run punishing a wayward pass from the Sunshine Coast to score the fifth try of the second half and to extend the lead more to 34-12. He also would have taken out the old award of closest try to the Can Bar corner.

The Dolphins could have extended their lead further in the 74th minute after a clever kick and chase, but the try was called back after Redcliffe players held back some Falcons chasers.

The pain was slightly reduced for the Sunshine Coast with a consolation try to fullback Eddie Tautali in the 78th minute to reduce the deficit. But that deficit was extended again as the home side snuck in one last score through Aaron Whitchurch to add a little salt in the wound just before the siren.

The Sunshine Coast have plenty to build on next year, and perhaps the consecutive road trips to PNG and Townsville took effect in the second half.

Redcliffe can look forward to a Grand Final and a shot at revenge over the Burleigh Bears on the big stage. The NRL Grand Final day awaits the winner too.

 

SCORING SUMMARY

REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 38

Tries: Strasser (35m), Bridge (42m), Bridge (45m), Beehag (55m), Aiono (64m), Randall (67m), Whitchurch (79m). Goals: 5/7 Conversions.

SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16

Tries: Giess (12m), Wright (27m), Tautali (77m). Goals: 2/3 Conversions

REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 38

Tries: Strasser (35m), Bridge (42m), Bridge (45m), Beehag (55m), Aiono (64m), Randall (67m), Whitchurch (79m). Goals: 5/7 Conversions.

SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16

Tries: Giess (12m), Wright (27m), Tautali (77m). Goals: 2/3 Conversions