Minor premiers the Redcliffe Dolphins have secured their place in next weekend’s grand final at Suncorp Stadium with a 38-16 preliminary final win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Coached by former Canberra Raider and Queensland State of Origin winger Adam Mogg, the Dolphins have earned a rematch with the Burleigh Bears, who upset them 40-24 in the major-semi final last weekend.
Redcliffe trailed 12-6 at half-time in yesterday’s preliminary final against the Falcons, before unleashing a second half attacking blitz. Their win ended the Falcons giant-killing run, after they had upset both the Papua New Guinea Hunters and the Townsville Blackhawks in elimination semi-finals in previous weeks.
The Burleigh grand final team will feature five-eighth Cameron Cullen and lock Lachlan Burr, who both played matches for the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL this season.
Redcliffe will most likely welcome back exciting winger Jonus Pearson for the decider, who spent most of the season with them before receiving a late season call-up for the Broncos. Pearson played for the Broncos in their season-ending loss to the Cowboys in Townsville on the weekend.
The Dolphins will be looking to win their ninth first grade premiership this weekend, and their first since 2006. At the start of this year, they were third favourites to win the premiership at 9-1, behind the Townsville Blackhawks and Papua New Guinea Hunters.
The Burleigh Bears will be trying to win their third first grade premiership, and their first since 2004. They were 21-1 to win the premiership at the start of the year.
It will be the third time the two teams have played each other in the decider. The Bears won the premiership with a 12-10 victory over Redcliffe in 1999, while the Dolphins turned the tables on Burleigh in 2003 with a 31-18 grand final win.
Whichever team wins this weekend will head to Sydney and will be hoping to continue the proud record of Queensland premiers in the State Championship curtain-raiser on NRL grand final day.
The Queensland premiers have defeated their New South Wales counterparts in both of the State Championship matches held so far. The Northern Pride beat Penrith 32-28 in 2014, and the Ipswich Jets beat Newcastle 26-12 in 2015.