Easts Tigers v Redcliffe Dragons
Sunday, 23 September, 3:05pm
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Premiership glory is on the line on Sunday afternoon in Brisbane when the Easts Tigers and Redcliffe Dolphins battle it out in the Queensland Cup Grand Final.
The Dolphins finished the home and away season on top of the ladder, with 16 wins and a draw from 23 matches. Easts finished outside the top four with 13 wins this season, but easily accounted for the fourth-placed Northern Pride in the first week of the finals by a 32-0 scoreline. Both sides snared wins in the second week of the finals, with the Tigers thumping Ipswich by 30 points and Redcliffe slipping past the Burleigh Bears by seven points. That victory ensured the Dolphins their place in the Grand Final.
A tense preliminary final played out at Pizzey Park last weekend, with the Tigers prevailing by 10 points against Burleigh. Easts had six different try scorers on the day and trailed 12-8 at the break, before scoring five tries in the second half to win 36-26.
Easts and Redcliffe have played twice this season, with the Dolphins winning both matches. In round five, a hat trick of tries by fullback Tony Tumusa was instrumental in the Dolphins’ 30-16 win. Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs was a sharp shooter with the boot, bagging six goals.
In round 19 it was only a two point win to the Dolphins at home, who led 12-4 at half-time before holding on for a 16-14 win.
There is first grade experience in both squads for this Grand Final, with the likes of Kotoni Staggs, Tom Opacic and Jake Turpin all featuring for the Brisbane Broncos this season. Redcliffe captain Cameron Cullen played 10 games in 2016 and 2017 for the Manly Sea Eagles and Gold Coast Titans in playmaking positions.
For Easts, fullback Scott Drinkwater was outstanding in his first grade debut against Penrith in round 25 this season. He is joined by the likes of Albert Vete, Dave Tyrrell, and Sam Kasiano for Easts, which is a feeder club of the Melbourne Storm.
Stats That Matter
- Redcliffe has won 344 games and five premierships since 1996, the most of any team in the Queensland Cup.
- The Tigers have yet to win a premiership in their 23 seasons in the competition.
- Scott Drinkwater and Linc Port have each scored 16 tries this season for Easts, from the full back and wing position respectively.
- Drinkwater leads the Queensland Cup in try assists (20) and tackle breaks (138).
- Sunday’s match is the first Grand Final for Redcliffe since they lost to Wynnum Manly in 2012. Easts’ last Grand Final appearance was in a 27-20 loss to Mackay in 2013.
The Wolf knows Redcliffe has enjoyed a week off ahead of this Grand Final and boast an impressive 2-0 record against Easts this season. Grand Final’s are about big plays and Scott Drinkwater has been the igniter for the Tigers this season. He has been one of the best in scoring tries this season and he’s not afraid to take on the line either. Dolphins captain Cameron Cullen has missed the most tackles in the Queensland Cup this season, so look for the Tigers attack to target the wily halfback. Watch the Tigers roar.
How It Shapes Up
Easts by 6.
Best: Easts +2.5 ($1.90)
Value: Easts ($2.20)