It’s Redcliffe Dolphins taking on the Easts Tigers this Sunday at Suncorp Stadium in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final. Shannon Meyer takes a look at the decider.
The big day for Queensland Rugby League is here with the 2018 Intrust Super Cup Grand Final being fought out on Sunday afternoon between Redcliffe Dolphins and Easts Tigers.
Will it be a sixth title for the Dolphins in the Queensland Cup era, and a first since 2006 despite making another three Intrust Super Cup Grand Finals since?
Or will the Tigers break an even longer drought, their previous title in the top grade predates the pre Queensland Cup era in 1991? They have made four Grand Finals without victory in the Intrust Super Cup sine 1996.
There’s a Broncos feeder club v Melbourne feeder club rivalry. North of the river v South. A few big NRL names, and many a soon-to-be household name. Quality attack, punishing defence. Sunday afternoon football at Suncorp Stadium with reasonable prices and a crowd figure to match an NRL final.
How they made it to Grand Final Day
Redcliffe Dolphins won the three-way battle between Burleigh and Townsville for the Minor Premiership, earning Week 1 of the finals off and a home fixture against second placed Burleigh.
The top two meet in week two of the finals, and Redcliffe grabbed the golden tickets straight into the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final with a 13-6 win in a tight affair. A 72nd minute field goal sealing the game.
Easts finished the regular season in fifth, and have been very impressive since. The defeated the Northern Pride 32-0 in Cairns in the first week of the finals, and blew the Ipswich Jets away the following week with 50-20 win.
They were impressive again last weekend with a 36-26 win over Burleigh, who had flogged them in the last week of the regular season dropping them to fifth.
These sides were the best and second best sides in the second half of the season from Round 13, Easts losing just three times in the second half, all against the top three. Redcliffe meanwhile suffered just two losses and a draw, the stalemate against last placed Mackay Cutters.
Both sides in form, Easts on a roll, Redcliffe the fresher. Will it be momentum that wins out, or the season long class of the Dolphins.
The Form Line
Redcliffe and Easts have met twice this year, with the honours going to Redcliffe on both occasions.
The first match of the season was in Round 5 where the Dolphins came to Suzuki Stadium and swiftly returned home with two points after a 32-16 win, highlighted by a hat trick to then fullback Tony Tumusa.
Battle recommenced in Round 19 in Goondiwindi for Country Week, and once again Redcliffe got the two competition points with a 16-14 win. But it wasn’t after a stirring late comeback from Easts, who almost stole the game right at the end in a highly entertaining affair.
Redcliffe may have the minor premiership and the head to head advantage for 2018, but that means nothing come Intrust Super Cup Grand Final day, and the Tigers are red hot.
Five Reasons to turn up to Suncorp Stadium
- Watch the heir to Billy Slater at Melbourne in Scott Drinkwater. Easts followers know what the fullback can do, but he also put on a decent show in his NRL debut. That debut actually crossed paths with the first week of the Intrust Super Cup finals, making the 32-0 win in Cairns even more impressive. Has been one of the players of the season in 2018.
- Cameron Cullen carved up the 2016 Intrust Super Cup Grand Final, ironically against the Redcliffe Dolphins for Burleigh. He is the man for Redcliffe who can make the difference and turn from villain to hero in just two years. His counterpart Brayden Torpy has found it hard to crack into the Tigers first grade side this year, with Brodie Croft occasionally being surplus to requirement for the Storm, but when Torpy has got his chance he has nailed it, especially during this final series. A classic haves battle awaits.
- It wouldn’t be a big Grand Final without some big guys going at it up the middle, and our favourite from each side to sit back and enjoy is the Easts Tigers Albert Vete, and Sam Anderson. Vete arrived mid season from the NZ Warriors NRL Side where he played 45 games between 2015 and 2018, and has been a hit for the Tigers leading the way in their second half of the season run. Redcliffe’s Sam Anderson is our favourite Dolphin forward, and one just has to admire the tough way he plays his rugby league.
- The occasional NRL big name drops through to the Intrust Super Cup, and the Tiger’s Sam Kasiano is the big name of the squads named. The big unit has turned out a few times this year for both the NRL side and the Tigers, and has provided plenty of interest every time he drops in. He could very well end up playing in Grand Finals in consecutive weeks if there’s an injury at the Storm for Grand Final day.
- Cheap entry compared to the NRL, and a rare Sunday afternoon of rugby league in Brisbane.
24-22. Redcliffe by two, penalty goal scored during golden point after the scores are tied at half time and full time.
Intrust Super Cup Grand Final Squads
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Trai Fuller 2. Josh Beehag 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Tom Opacic 5. Jeremy Hawkins 6. Bryce Donovan 7. Cameron Cullen (c) 16. Nathan Watts 9. Jake Turpin 10. Sam Anderson 14. Myles Taueli 11. Toby Rudolf 13. Jamil Hopoate 8. Nick Slyney 12. Aaron Whitchurch 15. James Taylor 17. Hugh Pratt 19. Scott Schulte 22. Tom Geraghty
Easts Tigers: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Linc Port 4. Marion Seve 3. Shane Neumann 5. Conor Carey 6. Billy Walters 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 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. Kelma Tuilagi 20. Sam Kasiano 15. Jarred Tuite 18. Leon Ellia-Niukore