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This round up of the 1980 season is courtesy of Brisbane Rugby League historian Michael Higgison.
Round 1 In the opening premiership match of the 1980 season at Lang Park, Redcliffe seized an opportunity of mammoth proportions to escape with a 28-22 victory over Norths. Referee Eddie Ward sensationally dismissed Norths half Ross Henrick and prop Doug Drew within ten minutes of each other, effectively ending any hopes the Devils had of winning. Until the two dismissals, Norths had looked in control of the match, leading at the break after a tight first half, then racing to a 22-12 lead soon after halftime. Second-rower Mark Graham touched down for a superb try off a Mark Murray break in the 51st minute, and four minutes later he also made the break for hooker Greg Conescu to score. Henrick was then dismissed for a high shot on Colin Part, followed soon after by Drew who flattened Bob Jones in backplay. Both sendoffs were converted into points by the ever-reliable Bunny Pearce, putting the wheels in motion for a Dolphins comeback. In the 72nd minute, Part split the defence from dummy-half to send Terry Webb crashing over untouched. Five minutes later, he sealed the match with a brilliant jinking run to score himself - the second for the match. Bunny Pearce had a tremendous day for Redcliffe, landing eight from nine attempts at goal, and kicking accurately in general play. Norths winger Gary Warnock also had a good day with a try and five goals. Nev Draper scored Norths other try. Overall, it was a good day out for the Dolphins, also winning reserve grade 18-13 and third grade 12-10.
Round 2 Seasoned utility Tony Obst and ever-reliable fullback Bunny Pearce spearheaded a 36-11 rampage over a hapless Wynnum-Manly at Kougari Oval. In oppressive conditions, Pearce rattled up 18 points from two tries and six goals in a sterling performance, while former state centre Obst relished his new position in the forwards and rewarded with a blockbusting effort to score a try. Pearce caused mayhem for the Seagulls all afternoon as he continually chimed into the backline, serving centres Chris Close and Willie Atkins well. He also managed to put wingers Steve Bax and Kev Cherry away for numerous breaks with well-timed passes, Bax crossing twice and Cherry once. The match was effectively over as a contest by halftime as the Dolphins raced to a 20-3 lead. From there, the second half was fundamental football from Redcliffe, giving Wynnum-Manly no chance. Terry Webb also scored a great individual try, breaking up to four tackles on his way to the line. Col O'Brien, Brian Walsh, and Smith scored tries for the home side, with Finch landing a goal. There wasn't a weak link in the Dolphins side, but Obst, Pearce, Webb, Close, Cherry and hooker Bob Jones were probably the standouts. Redcliffe won the first game of the afternoon when they rolled the reigning third grade premiers 19-9, while the Seagulls exacted some revenge 18-12 in reserves.
Round 3 In the Monday match at Lang Park, Redcliffe savaged a disappointing Wests 34-8 in a match the Panthers would much rather forget. The "Old brigade" Dolphins started with a bang to lead 19-3 at the break, then picked up in the second half where they left off to hand out a comprehensive drubbing to the red and blacks. Bob Jones, Bunny Pearce and Tony Obst were in complete control of the match, while youngsters in former Toowoomba half Greg Robinson and prop Gary Cox gave terrific support, Cox also scoring a try. Hard man Obst well deserved his two tries in a memorable showing, while the mercurial Pearce did what he knows best, landing 8 goals, and chiming into backline moves magnificently reminiscent of years gone by. Peter Leis, Chris Close and Steve Bax also scored to complete the thumping. Marc Svenson and Alan Landers scored Wests tries, with Peter McDonald landing a conversion. Panthers coach Harry Cameron was at a loss to explain Wests poor showing, although he did mention that incidents where prop Bill Whitmore was apparently flattened by a punch in a tackle, before eventually being carried off with an ankle injury, played their role. The only negative for Redcliffe from the match, was the apparent heated sideline argument at halftime between coach Frank Stanton and prop John Barber, after Barber had been inexplicably replaced. It was good day's hunting by the Dolphins as they also won second grade 23-15 and third grade 23-18.
Round 4 Redcliffe were brought down to earth with a heavy Lang Park thud in the Saturday match, when Easts tore them apart 25-16 in unforgiving fashion. If not for some ill-discipline on the Tigers part, combined with the ever-reliable boot of skipper Bunny Pearce, the 5 tries to 2 mauling could have appeared much worse. The win was the first for the Tigers, and consequently, the loss was the Dolphins' first. In an even first half, both sides went try for try leaving Redcliffe with a 12-8 lead at the break. However, with penalties 7-all at that stage, the game was never able to maintain continuity. Brad Backer and John Abbott both scored for Easts from set plays near the line, while Chris Close and Steve Bax crossed for Redcliffe after long-range breaks. In the second stanza, the Tigers really gave Redcliffe no hope, as they dominated possession, position and penalties to run away with the match. The Tigers showed they had too much class as lock Zac Sarra scored twice and five-eighth Dennis Cook once to wrap up a desperately-needed two competition points. Tigers fullback Alan Power kicked well, landing 5 mostly difficult goals from 8 attempts. In reserve grade, Redcliffe ran all over Easts 25-8, while third grade saw Easts take a high-scoring match 30-23.
Round 5 A capacity Dolphin Oval was silenced as Valleys rode rough-shod over Redcliffe, before the Dolphins came storming back, going down 21-14 to the Diehards. Most talk after the match centred around who it took Redcliffe 61 minutes to work out they couldn't switch the ball inside and not be crushed by the best defence in Brisbane. Centre Mick Neill and winger Doug Muir both scored for Valleys in a methodical first half. But the boot of mercurial fullback Bunny Pearce kept the Dolphins in the match, going to the break at 8-4. However, winger Peter Falvey, star lock Wally Lewis, then Muir , seemingly wrapped the match up for the Diehards as they scored in the 18 minutes after halftime, putting Valleys ahead 19-4. When Pearce scored and converted his own try to move within 10 points of the Diehards, the big crowd came alive, urging their charges on. The Dolphins showed they can match any side in Brisbane in the attacking stakes as they pounded the Valleys line and maintained possession for nearly ten full minutes. However, not even the dismissal of Valleys colourful skipper Ross Strudwick by referee Paul Rogers could dent the Valleys defence, which remained solid throughout. A Mick Neill penalty goal with five minutes to go effectively ended any dream the Dolphins held of winning. But they did manage to reward their best player Tony Obst with a try late in the match. It was hard to pick a best for Valleys as so many played a great game, but centre Vic Wieland was dangerous every time he touched the ball.
Round 6 Brothers coach Wayne Bennett was quoted as saying "That feels a lot better", after his side accounted for Redcliffe 17-10 in a dour affair at Corbett Park. Redcliffe coach Frank Stanton must be concerned after the Dolphins recorded their third straight loss after winning their first three matches. Brothers turned in a solid performance Bligh Davidson, Peter Lehman, Greg Smith and Greg Quinn their best players. Tony Obst was far and away the Dolphins best, and was rewarded with a try for his non-stop effort. Centre Willie Atkins scored Redcliffe's other try, while winger John Weier, Quinn and Smith crossed for the winners. Incredibly, goalkicking was woeful during the match with Bunny Pearce landing two from four attempts, and Brothers only four from twelve using three different kickers. Harvey Carter tackled fiercely throughout the match, while prop Peter McNamara dominated in the forwards battle. The result of this match could easily have gone the other way, as Redcliffe made more breaks than Brothers. However, an apparent lack of pace in the centres was a major downfall. The Brethren also took lower grade honours 22-17 in second grade and 23-10 in third grade.
Round 7 In the match of the day at Lang Park, reject Sydney hooker Bob Jones starred for Redcliffe as they played out a bruising 14-all draw with second-placed Souths. Apart from winning scrums 18-16 against Billy Johnstone, Jones tackled himself to a standstill, gave the final pass for Redcliffe's first try by Mark Schultz, served his halves magnificently all day, and swooped on at least six dropped balls by the Magpies. The Dolphins can consider themselves unlucky not to win the match many said Souths would win easily. Redcliffe held territorial advantage for the vast majority of the match, had two tries disallowed, a Bunny Pearce penalty from wide out hit the crossbar, and the try that saved Souths from defeat was scored from an intercept. Despite the inclement weather, the biggest crowd of the season packed Lang Park to see what turned out to be a titanic struggle between two well-drilled outfits. When Redcliffe fullback Mark Schultz touched down just before the break, the crowd had been kept at fever pitch even though there had been only a penalty goal to each side until that stage. A further penalty goal after the break, followed by a flashy Chris Close try saw the Dolphins open up a seemingly invincible 12-2 lead. One of the Magpies best, half John Salter, re-ignited the Magpies when he intercepted, juggled, and out-stripped the defence from halfway to score in the 53rd minute. Big Mal Meninga's rousing conversion from wide out put the Magpies back into the match 12-7. And Souths fans were delirious when star centre Bruce Astill capped off magnificent forward-play with a brilliant try in the 66th minute. Meninga levelled the score with the conversion. Two minutes later, Bunny Pearce sent Redcliffe fans into a spin when he landed a superb 45-metre penalty goal that appeared to hang in the air for an eternity. Meninga then levelled the score once again with four minutes to go. Jones, Tony Obst, Chris Holmes, Willie Atkins and Close were the Dolphins best performers, while Meninga, Salter, hooker Billy Johnstone and lock Billy Argeros were the Magpies best. The Magpies took both lower grade matches, 30-6 in reserve grade and 12-2 in third grade.
Round 8 Norths overcame the send-off of 1979 Rothmans Medal winner Nev Draper, and the removal of star young hooker Greg Conescu from the scrums, to record an unexpected and unorthodox 19-16 win over Redcliffe at Bishop Park. Sensational Norths fullback Joe Kilroy is turning out to be an excitement machine every time he touched the ball, and rugged replacement prop Stan Napa is certain to cement a first-grade position after an imposing debut. Devils coach Graham Lowe and president Bob Bax devised a plan to frustrate the Dolphins - and it worked. Each time Norths received a penalty, skipper Mark Murray called for a players huddle to decide whether their kicker Gary Warnock would take a tap instead of a shot at goal. The scheme worked admirably as Redcliffe were put off their game and continually questioned referee Stan Scamp. Strangely enough, Warnock failed to kick a goal early, so the responsibility fell onto Simon Pollard who landed 5 goals from as many attempts. Nev Draper played an outstanding match and scored two tries, before receiving his marching orders in the 54th minute after he flattened Dolphins fullback Bunny Pearce. The Devils other try was scored by centre Brian Dunn. Simmons and Schultz both scored for the Dolphins, with the mercurial Pearce kicking another 5 goals. Pearce and second-rower Tony Obst were Redcliffe's best. It was plain sailing for the Devils all day as they took reserves 7-6 and thirds 20-17.
Round 9 At Neumann Oval, an error-riddled match saw undefeated competition leaders Valleys outlast Redcliffe 16-6. The result was not pretty for the Diehards, who probably would have been beaten had they played stronger opposition. The Dolphins never played with any rhythm, resulting in loose passes and poor handling. Only Tony Obst, half Dave Roberts, lock Chris Holmes and ex-Sydney star Bob Jones ever looked like troubling the Valleys defence. Valleys clearly missed young superstar Wally Lewis and his ability to add variety to a stereotyped attack. However, skipper Ross Strudwick called all the shots, leaving Dolphins coach Frank Stanton seething at his side's inability to put Strudwick on the ground. The Diehards scored four tries to nil in a dominant showing, but clearly lacked the thrust of their missing state representatives. Strudwick would also not be pleased with the Diehards showing, given they next play Souths in the Presidents Cup final. Alan Mills showed he still has the skills with two tries, and both wingers Peter Falvey and Doug Muir also scored. Mills and Bunny Pearce kicked all the goals. In reserve grade, Valleys thrashed Redcliffe 31-9, while in third grade the Dolphins took the honours 15-7.
Round 10 At Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe hammered a disorganised Wests 34-5. Only injuries to star forwards, hooker Bob Jones (shoulder) and prop John Barber (leg), soured an otherwise terrific day for the Dolphins. Stand-in coach Trevor Day, enjoyed an outstanding performance by the home side, while regular coach Frank Stanton was away with the Australian side in New Zealand. Regaining their early season form, the Dolphins methodically tore the Panthers apart, rattling up six tries to one in a devastating performance. Mercurial fullback Bunny Pearce landed 8 goals from 9 attempts, many from out near the sideline. Pearce also became the first player to pass 100 points for the season, now rattling up 115 for the Dolphins. Redcliffe's tries were scored by Steve Cherry, Trevor Deakin, Mark Schultz, Tony Obst, Bob Abbott and Peter Leis at regular monotony. Incredibly, Wests received the majority of penalties and won most scrums, but couldn't manage any structured play with possession. Lock Norm Carr was the only Panthers player to perform well. The highlight of the Dolphins victory, and no doubt the most pleasing aspect to coaching staff, was the overall team play throughout the match. No individual starred, yet no one let the side down in any position. The Dolphins especially enjoyed the return of injured half Colin Part who has been out for seven weeks. The Dolphins also won both earlier matches, winning a tight reserve grade game 15-12, and a thumping 28-2 win in third grade.
Round 11 In the Saturday match at Lang Park, Redcliffe destroyed a woeful Easts side 29-18. Scoring seven tries to two, the Dolphins dominated every facet of the match, with forward convert Tony Obst having an exceptional game. Obst tirelessly ripped into the Easts pack, often sending support players into the clear, and was rewarded with a great try. Mercurial fullback Bunny Pearce didn't have a good day with the boot for the Dolphins, landing an uncharacteristic three goals from nine attempts. The Tigers offered very little resistance throughout the match, with Shane McNally's faultless six goals their only saviour from an embarrassing scoreline. The highlight of Redcliffe's play was the obvious maturing shown by their younger players like prop Trevor Deakin, lock Chris Holmes, centre Willie Atkins and winger Mark Schultz. Half Colin Part, and stand-in hooker Bob Abbott, for the injured Bob Jones, were others to impress. Dolphins try-scorers included Atkins (2), Steve Bax, Schultz, Part, Holmes and Obst. For Easts, Tony Anderson and Zac Sarra both scored. Redcliffe also won reserve grade 24-17, while Easts won third grade 20-8.
Round 12 Dolphin Oval witnessed a hooking rarity, as Seagulls rake David Green crossed for four second-half tries in an amazing performance. Unfortunately though, it wasn't enough for Wynnum-Manly as Redcliffe ran out close 29-24 winners. The nuggety Green scored two tries with intelligent support play, another when he spotted a gap near the ruck from ten metres out, and his fourth was from a tap penalty only eight metres out when he caught the defence napping. But it wasn't enough to hold out a determined 12-man Dolphins outfit led by Tony Obst. Obst was prominent in two of Redcliffe's tries, scored one himself, and was pasing the ball to Wally Fullerton-Smith when he was tackled without the ball. The incident happened right on the Seagulls tryline and the referee awarded a penalty try. The referee, Harry Dearness, also dismissed prop John Barber in the 28th minute after he appeared to attack the head of a Seagulls opponent. However the send-off seemed to inspire Redcliffe, as they piled on three tries in the next ten minutes, one a penalty try, to lead 17-6 at halftime. Green crossed for his first try seven minutes after the break, before Obst then scored his try eight minutes later. Green then scored two tries in the space of three minutes to get the Seagulls back to 22-19, before a Pearce goal and Willie Atkins try sealed the victory. Green's fourth try came with five minutes left on the clock, but the Seagulls were a spent force. Mark Schultz and Atkins also scored in the first half, with Bunny Pearce landing 7 goals from 9 attempts. Although outdone 12-6 by Green in the scrums, the Dolphins missed nothing in attack with Bob Abbott capably covering for the missing Bob Jones. Wynnum-Manly didn't go home empty-handed though, winning reserve grade 10-8. However the Dolphins took third grade 11-7.
Round 13 Recording their seventh victory in eight outings, Brothers stamped themselves as serious finals contenders when they simply outplayed finals hopefuls Redcliffe, 26-13 in the Saturday match at Lang Park. Fumbling their way through 80 minutes, the Dolphins looked anything but a finals-bound side, and Australian coach Frank Stanton was duly mortified. The Brethren on the other hand, dominated proceedings from the outset, with their experienced forward pack laying the foundations in a destructive performance, with their teenage backs capping off their work with five slick tries. The 18-3 halftime lead reflected the first half dominance, and Redcliffe never appeared to trouble it after the break. Only the try by fullback Greg Holben was an exception to the rule. Halves Greg Smith and Peter Lehman set up plays beautifully in almost faultless performances. Tries for Brothers were scored by Bligh Davidson (2), John Weier, Holben, Smith and Andrew Hickey, with Holben also kicking 4 goals. For the Dolphins, Colin Part crossed twice and Steve Bax once, with Bunny Pearce landing 2 goals.
Round 14 Teenage utility forward Brad Tessman and state centre Mal Meninga took full opportunity against a lethargic Redcliffe, when they dismantled the Dolphins 19-11 at Davies Park. Skipper of the state under-18 side two years earlier, Tessman played well above his years, as he smashed his way into the big Dolphins pack and drove forward attackers backwards with a devastating tackling display. Tessman set up a splendid try for Meninga in the 26th minute, when he appeared to be held by two tacklers, yet managed to slip a superb pass to Meninga at full pace. Meninga also scored a second try just three minutes later, and landed five goals from as many attempts, most from out wide. This took Meninga's season points tally to 138, only one behind Redcliffe's Bunny Pearce who missed the game with a shoulder injury. Redcliffe scored first in the 12th minute when centre Steve Cherry sliced through after good lead-up work by five-eighth Willie Atkins and hooker sensation Bob Jones. Leading 12-7 at half time, Souths controlled play during a tough second-half opening. A string of penalties, mainly from scrum infringements, resulted in Steve Bax keeping the Dolphins within range. But the Magpies had the match well wrapped up when hooker Billy Johnstone dived over from close range in the 58th minute. With a tiring dolphins defence, Souths were never pushed during the closing stages. Redcliffe did manage some joy from their third grade with an upset 17-13 win, while the Magpies took reserve grade honours 30-19.
Round 15 Kiwi international Mark Graham was the standout in Saturday's Lang Park match, when he almost single-handedly demolished Redcliffe 33-10 in the side's most devastating performance thus far. The Devils controlled the majority of the match, but a four-try spurt in the last 11 minutes blew out the scoreline in an otherwise tightly-fought contest. Graham, the rangy lock, gave the last pass for Joe Kilroy's try and featured prominently in two other tries, before intercepting and sprinting 70 metres to score himself right on fulltime. Along with prop shane Bernardin, and halves Mark Murray and Ross Henrick, Norths continually drove deep into Dolphins territory. Only state centre Chris Close and five-eighth Willie Atkins stood tall for Redcliffe, but they alone were no match for the bustling and intimidating Devils defence. Not even the return from injury of Redcliffe's star hooker Bob Jones could stem the overwhelming Norths attack. Centre Peter Dutton and hooker Greg Conescu scored for Norths and Close for Redcliffe as the sides took 'oranges' at 10-5. The second half reached frenetic pace at times as the play stretched from end to end. Brian Bird (Norths) and Peter Leis (Redcliffe) both scored during a tense second half, leaving the Devils ahead 15-10 before Norths final onslaught. The win was even more meritorious, given Redcliffe were pressing hard to stay in touch with the finals-bound leaders. In reserve grade, Redcliffe won 34-0 while Norths won third grade 20-18.
Round 16 In the Saturday Lang Park match, Redcliffe displayed clear superiority in humbling Wynnum-Manly 30-12. Unfortunately, the entertaining open-style football which the Dolphins turned on was witnessed by only a record smallest crowd for a match at league headquarters - a paltry 400 patrons. On the positive side, it was the star quartet of centre Peter Leis, lock Tony Obst, second-rower Ian Thinee and mercurial fullback Bunny Pearce which formed the backbone of the much-needed victory. Not to be outdone, prop Terry Webb and hooker Bob Abbott were inspirational during the few occasions that the Seagulls maintained attacking pressure. A low point in the match saw Redcliffe's exciting young centre Willie Atkins end his debut season with a broken leg early in the match. Seagulls half, Terry Saunders, opened the scoring after only five minutes with a sensational try after a jinking run through a broken defensive line. However, the Dolphins had all the position, and they took the lead 4 minutes later when Mark Schultz capped off solid forwards rucking and scored near the posts. A Steve Bax try just before the break, then tries to Chris Close and Terry Webb in the 12 minutes after the break, shot the dolphins out to a match-winning 22-3 lead. Both sides went try for try in the last 20 minutes - Phil Attel, Ian French and Gary Seaton for Wynnum-Manly, and Peter Leis and Tony Obst for Redcliffe - but the Dolphins dominated proceedings much more than the six tries to four results would indicate. Once again, the ever-reliable boot of Bunny Pearce with six goals from seven attempts provided a major buffer. Third grade was also won by Redcliffe 16-10, while reserve grade ended 9-all.
Round 17 Redcliffe coach Frank Stanton had his work cut out for him if his Dolphins side was to make the semi-finals, with a disjointed performance against Wests at Purtell Park. Although scoring three tries to one and winning the match 15-13, only sparkling backline play got them there. The forwards battle was won hands-down by cellar-dwellers Wests, only Tony Obst playing with any gusto. Redcliffe's precision-drilled backs however, were superb with quick, pinpoint passing destroying the Panthers defence out wide. Rightly so, Wests centres Harry Cameron and Greg Neven concentrated on Dolphins centre Chris Close, but in doing so let Redcliffe's scrum-base trio of Chris Holmes, Colin Part and Steve Cherry have plenty of room. Points-scoring wizard Bunny Pearce had a poor day with the boot, landing only three goals, but missing a number he would normally kick. A penalty-goal each led to the opening try by Peter Leis off a Tony Obst bomb after 14 minutes. When winger Mark Schultz capped off a backline move to score in the corner late in the half, Redcliffe jumped to a 10-2 lead. However, a Peter McDonald penalty before the break, followed by a 40-metre intercept try, put the Panthers back in contention at 10-9. Then a penalty goal gave Wests a rarity for the season - an 11-10 lead. But the Dolphins hit back soon after, when Bunny Pearce first wresting the lead back with a penalty goal, then scoring a try to lead 15-11. Another penalty goal to McDonald left the Panthers only two points in arrears, but they weren't able to muster the required field position to score a match-winning try. In a day of tight finishes, third grade finished a 20-all draw, with Wests winning reserve grade 19-18.
Round 18 Redcliffe gave themselves and their supporters some hope of an unlikely semi-finals appearance, when they scored a rousing 25-8 win over Easts at Dolphin Oval. The Dolphins cut the Tigers to pieces throughout the match, with dazzling backline attacking moves and quick-passing. Easts had no answer to the onslaught, and found their defensive line continually being split by Redcliffe for long gains. The match was effectively over as a contest by half time, as the Dolphins rattled up an unanswered 17 points. Centre Peter Leis scored two sensational tries and chris Holmes chimed in for one, during one of the best 40 minutes of football seen during the year. When Bunny Pearce crossed soon after the break, Redcliffe had created a 20-point buffer which the Tigers never looked like bridging. Prop Shane McNally and winger Brad Backer both crossed for Easts, but points were only mathematical as Redcliffe dominated every passage of play. A late Steve Cherry try completed a thorough rout. The entire Dolphins backline was near faultless, with centres Chris Close and Peter Leis unstoppable throughout. The forwards battle was almost a non-event, with dolphins halves cherry and colin Part continually throwing the ball wide early. Lock Zac Sarra was the standout player for the Tigers. In a rarity for Redcliffe, the big home crowd enjoyed a winning hattrick, with the Dolphins winning both reserves and thirds 17-9 and 24-12 respectively.
Round 19 In the match of the weekend at Lang Park, Redcliffe came storming back from the brink of defeat to register a very impressive 23-20 win over Valleys. Although the Diehards scored four tries to three, they weren't able to contain the Dolphins during the second half, and crashed to their fourth successive defeat. One of the heroes of the match was fullback Bunny Pearce, who again faultlessly kicked, landed seven goals from as many attempts. The men in royal blue looked the far superior side in the first half, and held a commanding 15-7 lead at the break. Lock Wally Lewis scored two tries, and centre Peter Flynn one, in an opening period where the Diehards looked classes above Redcliffe. A clever Mark Schultz try shortly before the break gave the Dolphins a glimmer of hope, but they still appeared a spent force. Halfbacks Colin Part and Ross Strudwick exchanged early tries after the resumption to leave the Diehards ahead 17-12. However, three Pearce penalty goals in a seven-minute period turned the match on its head, leaving the Dolphins ahead 18-17. Then when Mark Schultz speared through for his second touchdown, Redcliffe gained the upper hand with a six-point buffer. The huge crowd urged the Dolphins through the last 12 minutes, holding on even though Valleys centre Vic Wieland put the Diehards within striking distance. Hooker Bob Jones was pivotal in the victory for the Dolphins, being brought on by coach Frank Stanton after Bob Abbott lost six of the first seven scrums. Jones' first scrum was won against the feed, and only a tackle later Redcliffe were in. Peter Leis also starred during that memorable second half. Redcliffe won an important third grade match 20-11, while Valleys easily accounted for them 27-7 in reserve grade.
Round 20 The biggest Saturday crowd of the season packed Lang Park for the best Saturday match of the season, when Brothers defiantly held off Redcliffe 19-15 to sew up fourth spot for the finals. In a thriller, fortunes fluctuated as first Brothers appeared to have the match won, before a gallant Dolphins came storming back, before a match-winning try with 5 minutes remaining. A physical opening saw only a Greg Holben penalty goal in the first 20 minutes. But in the next seven minutes, the Brethren piled on another ten points when first Holben, then centre Shane McErlean scored tries, blowing the lead out to 12-0. Redcliffe, their season on the line, toughed out the rest of the half in their own territory, before Bunny Pearce landed a penalty goal right on half time. The second half opened at a frenetic pace, eventually resulting with Dolphins centre Peter Leis capping off a brilliant team effort, when he dived over from dummy half. Pearce converted to make the score 12-7. The match pulsated as it swung from end to end, before Len Chemello put Brothers further ahead with a penalty goal. Some sustained attacking raids then saw the Dolphins right back in business as Leis crossed again, leaving the score 14-10. With the match in the balance, Redcliffe second-rower capitalised on some continued possession to barge over with 12 minutes remaining. Pearce took a lifetime to line up his kick in near deathly silence, before the Lang Park foundations were shaken by the roar of the Dolphins fans as his conversion neatly dropped over the red dot. The Dolphins held tight for seven minutes, before a tidy blindside play by Brothers hooker Jay Hoffman put big prop Peter McNamara over for the sealer. It was a vintage match, one of the best of the season. Stars for the match were McNamara and half Greg Quinn who dominated much of the play. For Redcliffe, the tried and true trio of Bunny Pearce, Peter Leis and Tony Obst were outstanding. The win iced a fine day for Brothers, as they took reserve grade 14-7 and third grade 29-6.
Round 21 In a sparkling match of the round at Lang Park, an under-manned Redcliffe side adopting stand-up-and-knock-'em-down tactics, pulled off a supreme upset in disposing of once competition leaders Souths 21-18. The Magpies loss cost them the minor premiership, which would have been their first in 20 years. Without regulars Chris Close, Willie Atkins, John Barber, Peter Leis and Trevor Deakin, the Dolphins to a man rose to the occasion and showed their support brigade they will be a force in the BRL next season. There were no passengers for the Dolphins, with lightweight backrowers Vic Tighe and Bob Abbott outstanding, along with utility star Tony Obst. And Mr Reliable - Bunny Pearce - starred with the boot again, landing six goals from seven attempts, and bringing up his 200 points for the season. The Magpies ran hot and cold during the match, scoring some great tries, but offering some flimsy defence. Col Simmons, Chris Holmes and Steve Bax all scored tries for Redcliffe, while Steve Glynn, Chris Phelan, Gary Thompson and Dave Brown scored for the Magpies. Mal Meninga kicked three goals. Hooker Billy Johnstone and half Brad Sully were among Souths' best. Souths also won the lower grades 14-2 in seconds and 20-15 in thirds.