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Many rugby league followers in Brisbane had hoped for a Wynnum versus Redcliffe grand final, but the clash has come one week earlier than both clubs had hoped for. The great bayside rivals will contest Saturday,s preliminary final with the loser finished for 2003 and the winner advancing to next Saturday?s grand final against the Burleigh Bears at Dolphin Oval. Burleigh advanced to the grand final with a deserved 26-24 win over Redcliffe in front of the ABC television cameras at Pizzey Park, Miami last Saturday.
Coach, Rick Stone says his side needs to improve by 20 percent to win the grand final so there is no way the Gold Coast club will come to the peninsula in a cocky frame of mind. Redcliffe thrashed Wynnum 46-18 when the teams first met in round 11 this year but the return encounter in round 21 was much closer with the Dolphins winning 24-20 at Kougari Oval. There is no love lost between these two sides and they have some of the code?s most passionate supporters. Wynnum progressed to the preliminary final courtesy of a 42-12 win over Ipswich Jets in last Saturday night?s elimination final at Bendigo Bank Oval. Ipswich, ravaged by injuries, could not compete after being the pace setters for much of 2003. The season has ended for the Jets but life goes on with the club hosting a sportsmen?s lunch next Friday with NRL whistle blower, Bill Harrigan the special guest. Redcliffe have teams in all three grades today with the Mixwell Cup A grade side playing Norths and the Colts playing the Burleigh Bears. Redcliffe are the Spotless Services Club Champions for 2003 and they would love nothing more than to get all three grades into the grand final.
The traditional grand final luncheon will precede next Saturday?s matches at Dolphin Oval with QRL Chairman, John McDonald and the Directors of the QRL inviting a wide range of personalities associated with the code to what is always a wonderful occasion. The luncheon will be held in the Des Webb Lounge at Redcliffe?s magnificent leagues club. A highlight will be the naming of the Sunstate Airlines Queensland Cup Player of the Year. Last year?s winner was Scott Thorburn from Easts. Wynnum?s Denny Lambert won the annual Courier Mail Brisbane Player of the Year award at a black tie function at Tatts Club last Tuesday night and he is sure to figure prominently again next Saturday.
A hectic international programme of events begins next weekend with the British Amateurs (BARLA) playing France at Whitehaven in Cumbria in England?s north west. There will be a full schedule of internationals in your grand final program next week along with pen pictures of players in both Queensland Cup clubs.