Redcliffe will walk the semi finals tight rope after capitulating to Easts 46 ? 36 in a heart wrenching Queensland Cup loss on Saturday.
I started the day at Langlands Park full of optimism. Colts were a mathematical chance to make the finals if they defeated Easts and I saw no reason why they could not rise above recent poor form.
Watching them was another matter though as they made mistake after mistake. Holding the ball for a set of six tackles was seemingly beyond them. Easts were not that good, but they did enough to make Redcliffe look ordinary. The Dolphins trailed by 30 ? 10 at the break after a half of passionless football.
The second stanza saw some hint of the team that won the premiership in 2003. The Dolphins scored early and had several opportunities to get back into the game. I found myself believing they could do it too. A kid behind me knew better quipping that ?They aren?t going to win.?
With 8 minutes remaining and no chance of victory they threw in the towel for 2004 and Easts scored twice to run out 38 ? 16 winners.
Easts 38 (Leo, Elley 2, Heydon, Karabatsos, Farley tries; Farley 5 goals) d Redcliffe 16 (Coutts, Norton, Bailey tries, Simpson 2 goals)
More people rolled in for the A Grade fixture. There was an atmosphere building. Easts shot away to a 16 ? 0 lead with Redcliffe having no answer in defense close to their line. A try before the break gave the Dolphins a lifeline.
After the break Easts hit back with a try. Later, defending their line, Easts? forward Leigh Coghill gives away a silly penalty and is sent to the sin bin by experienced referee Darren McKenzie. Easts? supporters are livid. The Dolphins capitalize to again trail by 10.
Shortly thereafter the most spectacular brawl I?ve seen in five years breaks out. Every player on the field is throwing punches. The crowd goes wild. It goes on for minutes. Eventually the players restore order and the referee sends one Dolphin and one Tiger off.
It is 12 on 11 in Redcliffe?s favour when they score to reduce the margin to four. Minutes later Lyndon Nagas is knocked unconscious by a high shot and it is 12 on 10.
Redcliffe cannot lose I think and despite the locals going crazy I grin. I had not factored in Leigh Coghill?s return from the sin bin.
He scored two tries to shut the Dolphins out including an incredible 70 metre effort. This is a bad sign I think to myself.
Easts 36 ( Coghill 2, Imo, Wilhelmsen, Dennis, Reece, Graham tries, Kelly 4 goals) d Redcliffe 18 (Nagas, Murphy, Black tries; Bond 3 goals)
The main event and there is a big crowd and real tension in the air. I?ve never seen Langlands this full actually.
Bang bang and Easts are up 12 ? 0. Ben Jones weaves some magic and it?s 12 ? 6. Bloody hell far too easy it?s 24 ? 6. What is going on? Redcliffe seem shell shocked as am I. I find myself yelling like I haven?t at a game for some time.
Matt Anderton finds a way through the defense to make it 24 ? 12. Thankfully Richters has his kicking boot on. Again we?re down at half time. Nervous. We need this win or we could face missing the semis. The atmosphere at half time is electric. This is a cracker of a game.
The kick off has barely occurred and it?s 24 ? 18 courtesy of a rampaging Nick Walker busting through no less than six Easts defenders. Typical Easts supporters are blaming Alexander but he is having a good game for mine. 24-all!!!! Walker does it again busting through Easts to score! I can hardly stand it.
Two tries to Easts and I?m yelling insults at referee and Easts supporters. My mate Matt is cursing our defense. Flugge puts us back in it with time running out.
Bang. Dane Campbell scores. It?s a day for ex Redcliffe players to get their revenge. We cant win from here. I say my goodbyes muttering obscenities all the way to my car. Easts score again on the way. I check the final score on the channel seven news. Easts will play in the grand Final. I?m sure of that. Redcliffe too I hope, but I?m not as sure.
Easts 46 (Campbell, McIlwain 2. Beattie, Kaufman, Smith, Dezolt tries; Pearce 7 goals ) d Redcliffe 36 (Walker 2, Anderton, Jones, Flugge, Shilvock tries; Richters 6 goals)