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Saturday's Battle of Queensland just got bigger, after Matt Lockyer and Brent McConnell were both formally cleared to play in the Queensland Cup grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
The inclusion of the two spearheads adds intrigue to a super day of football in the Sunshine State, with the Burleigh and Easts decider to run prior to the Brisbane and North Queensland NRL semi final in Townsville.
Of course, Lockyer is linked to the Broncos through elder brother Darren, while McConnell has designs on being the Cowboys halfback in 2005.
The younger Lockyer - nicknamed `Peanut' - has recovered from a shoulder injury that has kept him out the past fortnight. He will replace unlucky forward Trevor Exton on the Easts interchange.
Meanwhile, `Jockey' McConnell trained up until early this week with a wrist splint, but will be fine to take his place feeding the Burleigh scrum on the weekend.
With David Hicks included as a back-up for McConnell, Bulldogs-bound 17-year-old Adam Fielder is the unfortunate Bear to lose his spot.
Tickets are still available through Ticketek on www.ticketek.com.au or 131 931, with general seating $14 for adults, $7 concession and children under 14 free.
QRL.COM.AU lists the most recent team line-ups and important statistics for all players participating:
1. Reggie Cressbrook - Career: 106 games, 69t, 235g, 1fg, 747pts. Season 2004: 20 games, 13t, 84g, 220pts.
2. Trent Purdon - Career: 57 games, 31t, 124pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 9t, 36pts.
3. Jason Webber - Career: 51 games, 34t, 136pts. Season 2004: 7 games, 5t, 20pts.
4. Nick Shaw - Career: 96 games, 58t, 232pts. Season 2004: 14 games, 4t, 16pts.
5. Aseri Laing - Career: 92 games, 60t, 240pts. Season 2004: 17 games, 14t, 56pts.
6. Adam Hayden - Career: 52 games, 30t, 120pts. Season 2004: 7 games, 3t, 12pts.
7. Brent McConnell - Career: 54 games, 33t, 31g, 194pts. Season 2004: 23games, 22t, 3g, 94pts.
8. Ali Brown ? - Career: 125 games, 14t, 56pts. Season 2004: 20 games, 2t, 8pts.
9. Ryan Gundry - Career: 116 games, 28t, 8g, 1fg, 129pts. Season 2004: 22 games, 6t, 24pts.
10. Adam Cook-Watene - Career: 128 games, 18t, 72pts. Season 2004: 21 games, 6t, 24pts.
11. Martin Griese - Career: 8 games, 1t, 4pts. Season 2004: 8 games, 1t, 4pts.
12. John Flint - Career: 51 games, 10t, 40pts. Season 2004: 20 games, 3t, 12pts.
13. Robert Apanui - Career: 19 games, 7t, 28pts. Season 2004: 19 games, 7t, 28pts.
14. Shane O'Flanagan - Career: 151 games, 21t, 84pts. Season 2004: 21 games, 2t, 8pts.
15. Tony Gray - Career: 144 games, 8t, 32pts. Season 2004: 20 games, 1t, 4pts.
16. Kris Flint - Career: 38 games, 8t, 2fg, 34pts. Season 2004: 17 games, 5t, 2fg, 22pts.
17. David Hicks - Career: 43 games, 18t, 72pts. Season 2004: 22 games, 6t, 24pts.
1. Jason Barsley - Career: 78 games, 45t, 1g, 182pts. Season 2004: 21 games, 14t, 56pts.
2. Steve Beattie - Career: 48 games, 25t, 100pts. Season 2004: 22 games, 11t, 44pts.
3. Steve Renouf - Career: 9 games, 8t, 32pts. Season 2004: 9 games, 8t, 32 pts.
4. Wade Liddell - Career: 106 games, 47t, 188pts. Season 2004: 25 games, 22t, 88pts.
5. Michael Pearce - Career: 42 games, 17t, 46g, 160pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 10t, 46g, 132pts.
6. Isaac Kaufmann - Career: 44 games, 16t, 64pts. Season 2004: 22 games, 11t, 44pts.
7. Dane Campbell - Career: 33 games, 14t, 67g, 2fg, 192pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 12t, 67g, 2fg, 184pts.
8. Charlie Tonga - Career: 33 games, 2t, 8pts. Season 2004: 24 games, 2t, 8pts.
9. Trent Young - Career: 63 games, 17t, 68pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 9t, 36pts.
10. Scott Alo - Career: 51 games, 8t, 32pts. Season 2004: 15 games, 2t, 8pts.
11. Darren Smith ? - Career: 22 games, 12t, 48pts. Season 2004: 22 games, 12t, 48pts.
12. Scott Sipple - Career: 134 games, 28t, 31g, 174pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 6t, 24pts.
13. Dallas McIlwain - Career: 35 games, 12t, 22g, 92pts. Season 2004: 6 games, 5t, 20pts.
14. Marty Allen - Career: 85 games, 31t, 128pts. Season 2004: 19 games, 8t, 32pts.
15. Leigh Coghill - Career: 16 games, 6t, 1g, 26pts. Season 2004: 9 games, 3t, 1g, 14pts.
16. Matt Lockyer - Career: 101 games, 37t, 95g, 338pts. Season 2004: 23 games, 11t, 44pts.
17. Paul Dezolt - Career: 77 games, 20t, 80pts. Season 2004: 12 game, 1t, 4pts.
* All statistics pertain to Queensland Cup only. Players may have accumulated further statistics elsewhere. Easts has played two more games in 2004 than Burleigh.
# Eight members of the Burleigh team which lost last year's grand final to Redcliffe remain. They are Reggie Cressbrook, Trent Purdon, Aseri Laing, Ryan Gundry, Brent McConnell, Adam Cook, Shane O'Flanagan and Tony Gray. Faron Anderson, Dean Allen and Jeremy Lateo will contest the Mixwell Cup final.
# From the Burleigh premiership side of 1999, O'Flanagan, Cressbrook and skipper Ali Brown are still playing Queensland Cup.
# Of the Easts team which lost the 1997 grand final to Redcliffe, only second-rower Scott Sipple remains. He played five-eighth for the Tigers back then.
# Easts lock Dallas McIlwain has played the fewest Queensland Cup games this season of any player in the grand final. However, he was man-of-the-match in the preliminary final against Wynnum.
# Tigers centre Wade Liddell has scored a try in all three finals matches thus far. He leads his team with 22 for the season. Just short of his 36th birthday, Darren Smith is the third-highest try-scorer for Easts, having lasted through 22 games this season. That doesn't include his two matches for the Brisbane Broncos.
# Pint-sized Brent McConnell has played every Burleigh game this season, despite being targeted on a weekly basis. Utility back Trent Purdon achieved the same feat.
# Burleigh has not lost in the last nine games against Easts.
Mixwell Cup Grand Final, Suncorp Stadium, Sat. Sept18, 1.05pm
A rematch of the major semi which went into eight minutes of overtime at Pizzey Park a fortnight ago. Burleigh won that encounter 17-16, making them winners on the last four games between the two sides. Veteran Dean Allen slotted the field goal that mattered in the semi.
Funnily enough, Easts five-eighth Nathan Murphy kicked two field goals in the Tigers' 56-14 preliminary win over Redcliffe.
Minor premier Easts will field 13 players who have appeared in the Queensland Cup this season; Burleigh will boast nine.
Mat Kelly kicked nine conversions from as many attempts for Easts last week.
BURLEIGH - Phil Ramage, Mark Wilson, Faron Anderson, Adam Fielder, Mark Commens, Clay Harris ?, Troy Clear, Travis Simpson, Matt Doeg, Matt Harriden, Justin White, Scott Cooke, Dean Allen. Interchange: Jeremy Lateo, Paul Anoleck, Luke Wright, Brock Anderson.
Brisbane - Walter Imo, Nathan Forde, Rob Maller, Mat Kelly ?, Michael Wilhelmsen, Nathan Murphy, Jason Connors, Clayton Summers, Rowan Graham, Ben Bourke, John Reece, Steve Thomas, Phil Dennis. Interchange: Matt Eaborn, Leroy Day, Clint Speechley, Adam Walker.
Mixwell Colts Challenge, Suncorp Stadium, Sat. Sept18, 11.30am
Another major semi rematch, coming after Norths beat the Tigers 40-24 at Bishop Park two weeks ago. Easts led the Devils 16-4 at halftime in that match, but was swamped in the second stanza.
Ominously for the Tigers, Norths will field an even stronger side this time around, with Greg Inglis and Sam Tagataese available. The pair are junior international representatives and have played Queensland Cup.
Easts have named Augathella winger Jerry Ahern after he left the field bleeding profusely last week against Bureligh.
Both teams are capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. If Easts is to win in all three grades, this will be arguably its biggest hurdle.
Brisbane Norths - Smith Samau, Kev Stephensen, Ryan Shortland, Greg Inglis, Josh Tatupu, Col Wilkie ?, Brent Mulholland, Adam Blair, Brenton Stonier, Scott Anderson, Troy Hansen, Sam Tagataese, Abraham Sila. Interchange: Cody Herrington, Adam Kambouris, Dale Ross, Luke Starkey.
Brisbane Easts - Jason Karklis, Jerry Ahern, Liam Leo, Shane Neumann, Adam Knezevic, Steve Halligan, Ben Farley, Aaron Gray, Shane Heyden, Matt Elley, Alec Fata, Shane Beldham ?, Billy Segeyaro. Interchange: Robert Palfrey, Mitchell Karabatsos, Russell Pihigia, Tom Williamson.
Thanks to the guys at http://www.qrl.com.au for another great article.