Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
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NORTH QLD v BURLEIGH, Suncorp Stadium, 2pm Saturday, September 17.
Ryan Gundry is to be announced as hooker of the Queensland Cup 10 Year Commemorative Team, after recovering from a shocking injury to take his place for Burleigh in the 2005 grand final.
Sidelined for more than a month with a severe quadriceps rupture, Gundry returns for the Bears as they attempt to defend their title as reigning premiers.
A pivotal figure in last year?s 97 minute extra-time grand final win against Easts, Gundry spent a week in hospital and underwent several epidurals to ease the pain after being taken from the field in Round 20.
?You can?t overstate what Ryan does for our team,? Burleigh captain Ali Brown said.
?His athleticism and his attitude make him a vital part of the side. The battle between him and Clint Amos at hooker should be great."
Amos, a Burleigh junior, was last year?s Player of the Year for the North Queensland Young Guns and has forced NRL-experienced Leigh McWilliams to lock for this encounter.
It will be a day of mixed emotions for the Amos family, with father Ian president of the Burleigh club and manager of the Queensland Wizard Cup team.
Gundry wins his spot in the 10 Year Commemorative Team from a host of challengers including Eddie Fallins, George Gatis, Craig O?Dwyer, Royce Simms and Dale Williams.
The remainder of the team will be announced at a luncheon at Suncorp Stadium prior to the grand final.
One of the most talkative players in the competition, Gundry will even be welcomed back by referee Rob Alexander in the decider.
?Ryan could be regarded as a horror player for some referees, but I find him quite a character,? said Alexander.
?He?s good to have a yarn to and I admire his skills to be honest.?
Gundry replaces Matt Doeg, who suffered a broken arm against Redcliffe last weekend.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: Jason Barsley, Neil Sweeney, Gavin Cooper, David Myles, Dean Payne, Shane Muspratt, Brent McConnell, Jaiman Lowe, Clint Amos, Matt Scott, Daniel Strickland ?, Mark Dalle Cort, Leigh McWilliams. Interchange: Rory Bromley, Scott Bolton, Wallace Solomona, Jimmy Anderson.
BURLEIGH: Reggie Cressbrook, Balin Cupples, Nick Shaw, Trent Leis, Aseri Laing, Adam Hayden, David Hicks, Ali Brown ?, Ryan Gundry, Shane O?Flanagan, Martin Griese, Adam Hutchison, Adrian Vowles. Interchange: James Griffiths, Jeremy Lateo, Chris Barnes, Robert Apanui.
Summary of Queensland Cup grand finals thus far:
1996: Desperate last-ditch defence gives Toowoomba an 8-6 win against Redcliffe.
1997: Redcliffe kicks conversion after the siren to beat Easts 18-16.
1998: Matt Geyer scores hat-trick as Norths recover from 0-16 to top Wests 35-16.
1999: Prop Shane O?Flanagan tackles winger Trent Leis over the sideline as Burleigh protect 12-10 advantage over Redcliffe.
2000: Redcliffe overcomes star-studded Toowoomba team 14-6, despite brilliant individual game from Justin Hodges.
2001: Toowoomba scores converted try in last minute to beat Redcliffe 28-26
2002: Two players sin-binned after first tackle as Redcliffe defeats Ipswich 34-10.
2003: Burleigh scores intercept try in a matter of seconds, before an Aaron Barba hat-trick gives Redcliffe a 31-18 win.
2004: League legends Steve Renouf and Darren Smith injured as Burleigh beats Easts 22-18 after 17 minutes of sudden death.
TAB sportsbet has installed the North Queensland Young Guns $1.30 favourites to win Saturday's Queensland Wizard Cup Rugby League Grand Final against the Burleigh Bears at Suncorp Stadium.
Thanks to www.qrl.com.au for another great article.