Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
45 hours ago
The visiting Easts Tigers spoiled the party in the opening
fixture at the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles' new stadium with an
entertaining 38-28 victory on Saturday.
Although winless this season, the Sunshine Coast held their own in a heartening performance and finished the match strongly in a four-try-a-piece second half.
Easts coach Troy McCarthy paid tribute to his side for doing enough to beat a Sea Eagles outfit who were desperate to christen their stadium with a maiden 2011 victory.
"It was a great win considering the circumstances."
"We've had poor form and for us to come out and respond like that [and win] - I thought it was excellent," he said.
McCarthy also commented that the win was a step in the right direction but the mentor stressed the importance of consistency and executing under pressure.
"We're trying to work on a few extra things (including) more ball movement. We're playing a lot of bash and brawn footy and we don't really have the type of players to do that. We're trying to use it more basically."
In a nervous start, the Sunshine Coast failed to complete their opening set and the Tigers capitalised when Kev Stephensen supported a nifty offload from centre Lance Morris to open proceedings.
Easts then stretched their lead to 12-nil after Elijah Niko pounced on the scraps from a cross-field kick.
Livewire custodian Hughie Stanley brought the home crowd alive with a turn of pace to post the inaugural Sea Eagles' try on their new home turf in the 23rd minute.
However, it was Easts who took a 16-6 ascendency into the sheds thanks to a Morris four-pointer.
When the teams returned, the Tigers roared ahead when Matt Zgrajewski strolled over and Adam Breen touched down off an opposition error, giving the visitors an ominous 28-6 advantage.
To their credit, Sunshine Coast didn't give in as the sides went tit-for-tat throughout an enterprising and occasionally heated forty minutes.
The Sea Eagles then finished with a flurry, crossing twice within the final five minutes through Maa Ruua and the speedy Stanley to reduce the final margin to a respectable ten points.
In a win that sees Easts leapfrog Central Comets on the ladder, McCarthy nominated powerful second rower Leon Panapa as the standout individual.
"He was dangerous with the ball and I thought he was the most dangerous player on the field actually," he said.
The team that took the field:
1. Kev Stephensen (c) 2. Adam Breen 15. Lance Morris 4. Liam Campbell 5. Elijah Niko 6. Dane Chisholm 7. Isaac Kaufmann 8. James Stosic 9. Geoff Holcombe 10. Mark Offerdahl 11. Steve Thorpe 12. Leon Panapa 13. Anthony Boyd
Interchange: 14. Matt Zgrajewski 17. McKanah Gibson 19. Liufau Hala 21. John Leiataua
Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles - 28
Tries: Hughie Stanley 2, Maa Ruua, Nick Swan, Robert Congoo
Goals: Joel McCrea 4
Easts Tigers - 38
Tries: Kevin Stephensen 2, Adam Breen, Elijah Niko, Dane Chisholm, Matt Zgrajewski, Lance Morris
Goals: Dane Chisholm 5
For all the lower grade reports and Easts news visit their home at thetigers.com.au
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