Last weekend minor premiers the Redcliffe Dolphins secured their berth in the 2018 Intrust Super Cup grand final with a 13-6 win over the Burleigh Bears. This weekend the two remaining teams in the competition, Burleigh and the Easts Tigers, meet at Pizzey Park to determine who will join the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday the 23rd.
Both teams finished the season in good form, the Bears winning five of their last seven games and the Tigers ten of twelve. Crucially the Tigers last loss was in Round 24 at Suzuki Stadium when the Bears put them to the sword 48-10. The Bears also won the two teams only other encounter this season, 26-18 at Cbus Stadium in Round 11.
They will both feature strong line ups with plenty of try scoring ability as well and NRL and QRL finals experience. Both coaches have the benefit of naming largely unchanged line ups, though the Tigers will be sweating on inspirational captain Jake Fosters return from a head knock that saw him leave the field last week against Ipswich.
In Scott Drinkwater, Brayden Torpy, Josh Ralph and Tommy Butterfield the Tigers have the form spine of the last quarter of the competition, their fans can only wonder what might had been had Torpy and Ralph not spent half the year playing in BRL.
For the Bears former Newcastle Knight Dylan Phythian is making his way back from what could have been a career ending injury, while Jamaal Fogarty has spent time the Parramatta Eels and Gold Coast Titans since the Bears 2016 Intrust Super Cup victory.
The Bears have retained a solid core of players from that 2016 victory and the bookies have them at $1:60 favourites to the Tigers at $2:35. However I expect the Tigers to get up in a tight one.
1. Kurtis Rowe 2. Troy Leo 3. Sami Sauiluma 4. Joshua Berkers 5. Toby McIntosh 6. Dylan Phythian 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Luke Page (c) 9. Pat Politoni 17. Jai Whitbread 11. Jamie Dowling 12. Hayden Schwass 13. Sam Coster 10. Matt White 14. Jeff Lynch 15. Kai O’Donnell 18. Blake Leary
Coach: Jim Lenihan
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Linc Port 4. Marion Seve 3. Shane Neumann 5. Conor Carey 6. Josh Ralph 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Albert Vete 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Dave Tyrrell 11. Jake Foster (c) 12. Patrick Kaufusi 13. Jack Svendsen 14. Chris Ostwald 15. Jarred Tuite 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. Kelma Tuilagi 18. Leon Ellia-Niukore 19. Anton Iaria 20. Ash Little
Coach: Scott Sipple