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TWEED HEADS 34 d SOUTHS LOGAN 28
TWEED Heads will face arch rival Burleigh in a powder keg FOGS Cup grand final next Saturday after the Seagulls escaped with a 34-28 preliminary final win over Souths Logan.
Securing the minor premiership by a whopping nine points, Tweed Heads only scraped through to the decider courtesy of a converted try three minutes from fulltime to David Strachan.
Not named by Tweed originally, the 84kg plasterer and local junior came into the side as a replacement for Curtis Finn.
The switch proved a masterstroke for coach Troy McCarthy, favoured to take over from Steve Murphy as Tweed?s QLD Wizard Cup coach in season 2007.
Strachan scored a try four minutes after halftime to extend a 16-12 halftime lead to 20-12.
Then, after underdog Souths Logan fought back gallantly, he drove a stake through the Magpies? hearts to crack a 28-all deadlock as the seconds ticked down.
Strachan?s four-pointer shattered the premiership dream of retiring Souths Logan halfback Ron Troutman, the diminutive general with more than a decade of experience in the QLD Wizard Cup.
Having joined the Magpies this season from long-time home Wynnum, Troutman spent the season alternating between State League and FOGS Cup, aiming for one last hurrah.
At 165cm ?Rockin Ronny? almost kept the black-and-white?s dream of its first premiership in two decades alive when he scored in the 58th minute.
When he touched down it was Souths Logan?s third try in 13 minutes, taking them from 24-12 behind to 28-24 in front.
Yet three minutes later Tweed found a right of reply through centre Nathan Small. Paul Rolls could not slot the conversion however and it was all tied up at 28 apiece.
There was pressure on both sides of halfway. Tweed was mindful of letting slip a wonderful season in which it lost just two regular season games, while Souths Logan had the burden of forfeiting the lead in a match so pivotal to the club?s recent history.
Eventually it was Souths Logan that broke. Even then when they did, they played the last 90 seconds with unrelenting vigour, putting themselves in a position where they could have scored again.
Tweed Heads held strong however and booked themselves a showdown with Gold Coast nemesis Burleigh at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.
Tweed had Burleigh?s measure throughout the regular season, but lost the major semi 14-12 to the rapidly improving Bears. Kick-off in the FOGS Cup grand final is 11.50am.
TWEED HEADS 34 (David Strachan 2, Chris Enahoro, Brett Woolley, Nathan Small, Andrew Cross, Joe Cudmore tries; Paul Rolls 3 goals) d SOUTHS LOGAN 28 (Matt Templeman 2, John Andrews, Christian Thompson, Ron Troutman tries; Justin Hoggart 4 goals) at Dolphin Oval.
WYNNUM MANLY 42 d REDCLIFFE 20
WYNNUM Manly will carry the momentum of a steam train into its first Colts grand final since 1988 after crushing Redcliffe 42-20 at Dolphin Oval on Saturday.
The win was the Seagulls? third straight finals victory, all of them in do-or-die scenarios against highly-rated opposition.
In truth, Jon Buchanan?s men could have won by even more against the Dolphins, allowing a final minute converted try to Asher Elemani.
It?s unlikely the Baysiders will care greatly about the momentary lapse however, priming themselves to face the all-conquering Norths Devils in next week?s grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
Norths has contested seven of the past eight Colts grand finals and produced players the class of Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Dallas Johnson.
No club aside from Norths and Redcliffe has won a Colts grand final back to 1996 and in this year?s regular season the Devils have scored 100 points more and conceded 100 points fewer than any other side.
Despite the impressive and ominous statistics though, it is clear Wynnum Manly has not spent much time paying respect to reputations.
The Seagulls smashed a Broncos-groomed Aspley side 62-8 in the first week of finals and then accounted for powerhouse club Easts 26-18 in the second week.
They allowed an early 8-6 to Redcliffe in the preliminary final, then fought back to lead 20-8 by halftime.
With a befitting surname, winger Chris McQueen played a major part in the ?Great Escape?, crossing for a hat-trick of tries in the first half. McQueen opened proceedings with a try in the second minute, then when his side fell behind, he found the tryline in both the 26th and 29th minute.
Three minutes after the break interchange player Shaun Cotter twisted the knife in deeper to make it 24-8.
Redcliffe responded almost immediately through Matt Gillett, but then flowed a run of three straight converted tries to the Seagulls.
Wynnum and Norths will have the early kick-off on grand final day, with the Colts decider beginning at 10.10am. Gates open from 10am.
The Seagulls have never won a Colts grand final, losing 24-4 to Redcliffe in their only appearance to date.
WYNNUM MANLY 42 (Chris McQueen 3, Ryan Brown 2, Ben Cronin, Bruce Kolio, Shaun Cotter tries; Luke Menhinnitt 5 goals) d REDCLIFFE 20 (Matt Gillett, Jordon Brown, Tim Yee, Asher Elemani tries; Asher Elemani 2 goals) at Dolphin Oval.
The result of these matches means next Saturday's grand finals at Suncorp Stadium are:
FOGS COLTS CHALLENGE - Norths v Wynnum Manly, 10.10am
FOGS CUP A-GRADE - Burleigh v Tweed Heads, 11.50am.
These matches will be followed by the QLD Wizard Cup grand final
Notes from games:
FOGS COLTS CHALLENGE
* Wynnum Manly qualified for first Colts grand final since 1988
* Wynnum Manly has never won a Colts grand final
* The Seagulls led Redcliffe 20-8 at halftime
* Winger Chris McQueen scored three tries for the Seagulls
* Wynnum Manly has now risen from fifth place to contest the grand final
* Next week's opponent Norths will contest its eighth Colts grand final in the past nine seasons. The Devils have won four of seven so far.
FOGS CUP A GRADE
* Won 3 minutes from fulltime by a converted try to Tweed's David Strachan
* Strachan, who has QLD Wizard Cup experience, also scored a try four minutes after halftime
* Strachan was called in as a late replacement for Curtis Finn
* Souths Logan had led 28-24 at the 58th minute courtesy of a try to half Ron Troutman, the veteran playing his last match before retirement
* Tweed then scored tries to Nathan Small and Strachan
* The game was tied 6-all, 12-all and 28-all
* Tweed led 16-12 at halftime
* The grand final will be a local derby with fierce Gold Coast rivals Burleigh