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FULL match reports for grand finals played today in the QLD Wizard Cup, FOGS Cup and FOGS Colts Challenge.
REDCLIFFE 27 d TOOWOOMBA 6 (QLD WIZARD CUP)
REDCLIFFE has secured its fifth QLD Wizard Cup premiership in 11 seasons, defying the odds to beat a star-studded Toowoomba side 27-6 at Suncorp Stadium.
In a masterful display, the ageing Dolphins showed the young Clydesdales the benefits of experience, recovering from a 56-22 hammering in the major semi to wreak revenge in the game that mattered most.
?Everyone wrote us off a few weeks ago,? Redcliffe coach Anthony Griffin said.
?Have a look at that (Toowoomba) side and it?s chock full of stars. But that gets you nothing in grand finals sometimes.?
Toowoomba?s line-up featured 11 NRL players, including the likes of Greg Eastwood, Joel Moon and David Taylor, expected to become the future face of the Brisbane Broncos.
Yet Redcliffe had an amazing statistic in its favour, boasting 23 games worth of grand final experience to Toowoomba?s none. Dolphins captain Troy Lindsay, a warhorse almost twice the age of rival Taylor, went into the match with six State League finals under his belt alone
That appeared to count for little just three minutes into the match when Toowoomba prop Ben Vaeau monstered his way across from short range.
The commentators? summation was it was all ?too easy? and there was an unspoken expectation that Redcliffe could be in for a pasting, just as they were a fortnight earlier.
Listed by bookies at long odds for victory, the Dolphins only had self belief to rely on and six minutes later they defied expectation to turn the tables.
Exposing frailties in the Clydesdales? own defence, Michael Roberts shot out of dummy-half and fired a great second-man pass to Marty Turner. Turner slipped through an innocuous tackle and touched down straight under the posts.
With Greg Bourke converting it was 6-all and the stage was set for another thriller between two hostile combatants.
The next 30 minutes was a pure rip-and-tear affair, with swarming defence, body-slams and the odd smattering of argy bargy.
It featured three decisions that went to the video referee, the anticipation of the crowd amplifying an already fever-pitch atmosphere.
First Ryan Cullen was ruled to have knocked-on when he flew through the air to ground a grubber just short of the dead-ball line.
Then Jamie Simpson crossed at the other end of the paddock, twisting through three defenders, but ruled to have been held up by video adjudicator Tony Maksoud.
Maksoud was forced into a double-take moments later when Rory Bromley slid over from a great Nick Emmett pass, he too having his try disallowed due to insufficient control.
It took right up until the halftime siren for either team to crack.
With precision timing, elusive fullback Ryan Cullen dived over right on the hooter, following brilliant lead-up work by Roberts and halfback Marty Turner.
After battling a hamstring injury throughout the week, valiant Turner was a standout as the Dolphins took a 12-6 advantage.
The second stanza was played in much the same gritty style as the preceding 40 minutes, with neither team able to penetrate the rugged fence.
Two instances that best explained Redcliffe?s victory had nothing to do with tries scored.
Like the irrepressible Duracell Bunny, Dolphins custodian Cullen was amongst everything and his energy flowed through to his teammates. When he pulled off a last ditch cover tackle on Simpson in the 54th minute, it was certain try-saver, even though Simpson still had 80m to run.
Had Cullen hung off for a second longer or banked on teammates to cover for him, the quicksilver Simpson would have scorched them untouched over the distance.
The second instance of desperation and hunger came in the 65th minute when a loose ball fell close to the feet of two Toowoomba defenders. They hesitated for a fraction and Redcliffe backrower Danny Burke pounced, sliding in to win possession.
It was no coincidence that two minutes later Redcliffe found itself in good enough field position for Roberts to add a field goal and move the margin to 13-6.
Toowoomba needed to score twice in just over 10 minutes, but it never happened.
Announced as the prestigious QANTAS Player of the Year at halftime, Roberts took full control of the game as it headed into the final stretch.
First he hoisted a bomb for former Australian Rules player Emmett, who caught and passed for outside man Bromley to score, making it 17-6.
Then, when Toowoomba had the faintest hint of a comeback through a storming effort by Chris Muckert, Roberts latched on to the bulky backrower and punched the ball free over the line.
His try-saver demoralised the Clydesdales and they allowed two more tries before the game was brought to a halt.
Emmett hauled in another cross-field kick and set up Bromley again in the 75th minute, while Mark Shipway crossed from an angled run in the 78th minute.
Shipway, 30, finally found some recompense for the 1996 grand final, where he also scored a try, but was on a Redcliffe side which lost 8-6 to Toowoomba in perhaps the competition?s best-ever decider.
After touring the globe with NRL and Super League teams, he had only this season returned to the Dolphins from English club Salford.
There was also a nice symmetry for teammate Adam Starr, taking the final hit-up of the game as he reached retirement with a perfect four-from-four in grand finals for the Dolphins.
REDCLIFFE 27 (Rory Bromley 2, Marty Turner, Ryan Cullen, Mark Shipway tries; Greg Bourke 3 goals; Michael Roberts field goal) d TOOWOOMBA 6 (Ben Vaeau try; Nick Parfitt goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Halftime: Redcliffe 12-6. Referee: Brett Suttor.
BURLEIGH 28 d TWEED HEAD 6 (FOGS A GRADE)
A HEATED affair between traditional rivals Burleigh and Tweed Heads has seen the 2006 FOGS Cup awarded to the Bears, 28-6 victors at Suncorp Stadium.
With plenty of feeling existing between the two neighbouring clubs ? right through from older generations to the present day ? the match was always going to be keenly fought.
So was the case on grand final day, where runaway minor premier Tweed faced off against a Burleigh side which had beaten them by two points a fortnight before.
In a rugged opening half there were only three tries scored.
Rain bucketed down for extended periods of time, hampering handling, yet also ensuring the physical nature of the contest came to the fore.
Burleigh grabbed a handy advantage just 12 minutes into the game with two tries to winger Mark Commens.
Commens collected the first from a Nash Core bomb, then scored his second with a direct passage down the sideline.
As could be expected Tweed Heads fought back, with talented half Paul Rolls sliding across out wide.
Having finished the regular season playing Wizard Cup, Rolls then slotted a pressure conversion from out wide to make it 12-6.
That remained the score until halftime, with frustration levels rising on both sides, particularly for Tweed, who butchered several scoring chances
The second half was a shock to all, as Burleigh ran away to score three tries to nil and avenge grand final defeats from both 2004 and 2005.
In a satisfying finale for coach Grant Adamson, a member of the Burleigh 1999 Wizard Cup premiership side, the Bears touched down in the 45th, 58th and 65th minutes.
Commens completed a treble with another four-pointer added to his swag, while Ryan Wilson and halfback Core posted the other tries.
Tweed?s best opportunity to fight back again came via Rolls, who dropped a well-timed pass from Brett Woolley as he charged across the line.
Amongst it all were several set-tos, with a late chargedown of a kick bringing all players together in a heated huddle. Nobody went over the top though and all players remained on the field as the game reached its finality.
BURLIEGH 28 (Mark Commens 3, Nash Core, Ryan Wilson tries; Phil Ramage 4 goals) d TWEED HEADS 6 (Paul Rolls try; Paul Rolls goal) at Suncorp Stadium.
Halftime: Burleigh 12-6
Referee: Justin Davis
NORTHS 28 d WYNNUM MANLY 22 (FOGS COLTS)
EXPECTATIONS of a lopsided FOGS Colts Challenge grand final were blown out of the water as Wynnum Manly pushed heavy favourite Norths all the way in a gripping 28-22 result at Suncorp Stadium.
Indeed, the rank outsider Seagulls led the match until 12 minutes from fulltime when Devils replacement Jason Poppi scored one of the all-time great individual grand final tries.
With his side trailing 16-12 at that stage, Poppi swooped onto a pass from a falling teammate 45m out, ran a short blindside and chipped over the top in a 1m corridor.
Evading the converging defenders and getting to the ball first, he kicked again off the ground, before regathering and sliding across in one swift movement.
The crowd-pleasing effort saw the ledger at 16-all, with Norths then scoring two more quick tries to wrestle back the ascendancy in the final minutes.
The most pivotal of those tries, eight minutes from the hooter, had Wynnum?s coaching staff up in arms, after there appeared to be a forward pass in the led-up.
In good position, referee Brenden Wood ignored the calls from the crowd and advice from his touch judge, allowing play to flow until Israel Folau crossed in the opposite corner.
Having never won a premiership in the elite Under 19s competition, Wynnum had one last chance at the game when Ben Cronin scored a try two minutes from time, converted from the sideline by Luke Menhinnitt.
In a frantic closing, standout Seagulls centre Ryan Brown made a great break which potentially could have tied the game, only for halfback Matt Smith to lose the ball in support.
It was a disappointing end to a golden run for the Baysiders, who rose from fifth place to challenge a team full of Melbourne Storm recruits.
Playing their fourth do-or-die game in succession, the Seagulls led 12-6 at halftime courtesy of tries to wingers Chris McQueen and Luke Menhinnitt.
Their tries came just three minutes apart after Norths had opened the scoring via half Luke Capewell.
Capewell ended the game with three tries, playing a major hand in his team?s rise from the brink.
NORTHS 28 (Luke Capewell 3, Jason Poppi, Israel Folau tries; Luke Samoa 4 goals) d WYNNUM MANLY 22 (Chris McQueen 2, Luke Menhinnitt, Ben Cronin tries; Luke Menhinnitt 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.
Halftime: Wynnum Manly 12-6.
Referee: Brenden Wood.