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It was international day at Lang Park , but for a change it wasn't Lewis, Miles and Scott who were the stars. As Redcliffe humbled premiers Wynnum - Manly 30-7 to knock them out of the running for for the '87 Winfield Cup, the Dolphins international front row of Bryan Niebling, Greg Conescu and Dave Brown were the stars.
The big three were relentless and answered their critics so convincingly . The critics had been saying Wynnum are fired by their superstars while Redcliffe's superstars just go through the motions. Power was the name of the game from Niebling and Brown as they repeatedly steamrolled the Wynnum pack, often busting the Wynnum defence wide open on the edge of the ruck. And if that wasn't enough the two internationals laid on three of the five tries.
It was in that vital period just before halftime that Redcliffe pushed their accelerator, with Brown and Niebling in control. With twelve minutes on the clock before halftime and Redcliffe in front 7-1, Brown busted Wynnum wide open, he took two defenders to ground and deftly unloaded to the brilliant Jamie Sandy who scampered over. Almost from the kick - off, Niebling tore straight through the Seagulls forwards, raced thirty metres and then magnificently unloaded to the flying Rohan Teevan to score the try underneath the posts. That took the score to 18-1.
Not to be out done by his front row partner , Brown again strode through the Wynnum defence two minutes from halftime, he found the ever present Steve Bleakley in support and Trevor Benson's conversion made it 24-1 and it was goodnight for the premiers.
A delighted Redcliffe coach Darryl Van de Velde conceded after the game that his front row had laid the foundations for the win and the try right on halftime was the gamebreaker. " We knew what we had to do to beat them and we set the match plan accordingly. To say it worked is an understatement " he said. Niebling had been criticised for his performances against the Seagulls in the past with some saying he took it easy on his State of Origin teammates but today Niebling showed everybody that his loyalties were with his Dolphin team-mates and not his Origin mates with a barnstorming performance.
But early it looked like case of deja vu, as Redcliffe repeatedly attacked the Wynnum line and couldn't get across the line. Before talented second - rower Ashley Tupaea eventually crossed in the eighth minute, Redcliffe had atleast three opportuinities to score tries but couldn't convert the chances into points. Every Redcliffe supporter started recalling similar situations in the five previous times Wynnum had beaten the Dolphins this season and no doubt thought ' Here we go again '.
But Redcliffe were here to play today and never let the inabilty to cross early set them back. Redcliffe were well disciplined, particulary with their ball control. Nothing could be taken away from the Dolphins win. The Seagulls had become Redcliffe's bogey team beating them in eight of their last nine outings but today was Redcliffe's day and Wally Lewis could not pull anything out of his bag of tricks to get the Seagulls going, they were totally out played in every aspect of the game.
The best for Redcliffe were the experienced trio of Brown, Niebling, Conescu, while skipper Steve Bleakley was in great touch and the young guns Ashley Tupaea, centre Rohan Teevan and big winger Shane Knuth also played well . It was a superb team effort, and one which will boost their confidence greatly for the upcoming Preliminary final. That area has not always been the longsuit of the Dolphins in the past, but without getting carried away with their big win, it wasn't hard to ' feel ' the new belief in the team in the sheds after the game.
And while coach Van de Velde rightly receives the plaudits for a job well done, one hushed up selection proved a real match winner. The late inclusion of experienced centre Steve Chaerry for the youngster Jeff Doyle ( current Easts captain ) was a masterstroke. Always renowned for his defence , Cherry never left Gene Miles alone and also made a couple of breaks in attack. Miles was never in the game. Even though the Dolphins front row was the area in which Redcliffe orchestrated their win, the man of the match was clearly half back Jamie Sandy. He brilliantly set up the first try for Tupaea , scored the second and made countless clean breaks through the brittle Wynnum defence. And one memorable tackle on Gene Miles early on in the match was a try saver. The Teams that day were Redcliffe Wynnum Greg Donnelly Colin Scott Shane Knuth Scott Nicholls Steve Cherry Gene Miles Rohan Teevan Brian Naylor Robin Thorne Scott Lewis Trevor Benson Brad Samuelson Jamie Sandy Doug Belford Steve Bleakley (c) Wally Lewis (c) Ashley Tupaea Tony Jemmott Bob Keogh Andrew Tessmann Bryan Niebling John Turner Greg Conescu Darren Petrie Dave Brown Darryl Jenner Replacements Replacements Curtis Powell Steve Hazel John Boxsell Peter Sibley Brian Coyne Greg Street
The scorers Redcliffe 30 ( S.Bleakley 2, J.Sandy, R.Teevan, A.Tupaea tries T.Benson 5goals ) Wynnum 7 ( A.Tessmann try B.Samuelson goal T.Jemmott field goal ) Scrums : Wynnum 11-7 Penalties : Wynnum 8-5 Crowd : 9800 Referee : Eddie Ward By the clock 8min : Redcliffe 6-0 Tupaea try Benson goal 16min : Redcliffe 6-1 Jemmott field goal 28min : Redcliffe 12-1 Sandy try Benson goal 30min : Redcliffe 18-1 Teevan try Benson goal 31min : Wynnum replacement S.Hazel for D.Belford 38min : Redcliffe 24-1 Bleakley try Benson goal 53min : Redcliffe 24-7 Tessmann try Samuelson goal 66min : Redcliffe replacement C.Powell for G.Conescu 66min : Redcliffe replacement J.Boxsell for D.Brown 70min : Wynnum replacement P.Sibley for D.Petrie 70min : Wynnum replacement B.Coyne for J.Turner 74min : Redcliffe 30-7 Bleakley try Benson goal 76min: Wynnum replacement G.Street for G.Miles