The Sunshine Coast Falcons are into the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final next Sunday after a comprehensive 40-14 win over the Redcliffe Dolphins at Dolphin Oval on Sunday afternoon.
It will be the first Grand Final appearance for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in their current set up, the Sunshine Coast did win the 2009 Intrust Super Cup title as the Sea Eagles when they were Manly’s feeder club. They are now affiliated with Melbourne Storm and that partnership is paying dividends as the Falcons are going one step further than 2016’s third week finals exit.
And what style they did it in with a big win over the Redcliffe Dolphins on their turf after getting home in two tight contests in the previous two weeks of knockout finals. Their 7 tries to 2 win featured a double each to PNG International Justin Olam, and Storm regulars Ryley Jacks and Joe Stimson.
Olam got things started early for the Falcons with a try in the 6th minute after they had withstood some early repeat sets from the home side with a first class bounce after a bomb was missed by Redcliffe. Only for Redcliffe to reply two minutes later through forward Troy Giess with their first attacking set after the kickoff following another bomb where Redcliffe’s Tyson gamble pinched the back from the Falcons number 1. A penalty goal in the 15th minute saw the Dolphins hit the front, although it was to be brief and a one off.
Four minutes later saw five eighth Scott Drinkwater cross after the Falcons were gifted territory on the back of a penalty. Jonus Pearson went close for Redcliffe not long after, but the try was not allowed by the video referee, and the Falcons made them pay when Joe Stimson got the first of his two for the day in the 25th minute in the next set to see the Falcons out to an 18-8 score that they kept until half time.
Given the Falcons had let second half leads almost be chased down in the previous two weeks of finals against Souths Logan and Easts, Redcliffe may have had confidence of chasing down the Sunshine Coast in the second half. But it wasn’t to be the case as the visitors scored the next four tries to runaway with the game, and the most consolation of tries for Redcliffe just before full time was the only blemish is a dominant second half.
The first of those second half tries went to halfback Ryley Jacks just four minutes after the break as the halfback ran over from 10 metres with some slick work close to the line after the Falcons took advantage of the Dolphins spilling a bomb.
When Justin Olam crashed over in a neat blind side play and Joe Stimson grabbed his second try down the same side a few minutes later, it was the 64th minute and the score was 34-8 and effectively season over for Redcliffe.
Ryley Jacks added some salt in the 73rd with his second after yet another bomb was not successfully dealt with by the Dolphins.
Jonus Pearson got the second try for the Dolphins for the day just before full time, but it was all academic by then.
It means that the Sunshine Coast Falcons are heading to Suncorp Stadium for the big decider, and 2017 regular season’s 2nd placed Redcliffe are knocked out in straight sets.
The Falcons will fancy their chances next weekend too, as their recent record against the Hunters is very good. They knocked them out of the finals last year in Port Moresby, becoming the first side to win in PNG for over 2 years. And their record on the Sunshine Coast against the Hunters is excellent, with three straight wins.
Suncorp Stadium and the big time atmosphere of a grand final, likely to be reasonably pro Hunters, is a different thing entirely. One thing for sure is that it will be an occasion to remember and a great game to tune in for.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 40
Tries: Justin Olam (6m), Scott Drinkwater (19m), Joe Stimson (25m), Ryley Jacks (44m), Justin Olam (59m), Joe Stimson (64m), Ryley Jacks (73m)
Goals: Guy Hamilton 6/7 Conv
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 14
Tries: Troy Giess (8m), Jonus Pearson (79m)
Goals: Tyson Gamble 2/2 Conv, 1 Pen Goal