Mini State of Origin -- Underdog Gulls look to steal Queensland Cup

By BOB ANTHONY

THIS Saturday's Queensland Cup grand final is starting to take on %mini State Of Origin status with Redcliffe battling the Tweed Heads Seagulls at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. It is the first time a team from south of the border has contested the grand final, and for many Queensland rugby league fans, the prospect of their competition heading to NSW is unpalatable.

No doubt there will be league fans at Suncorp on Saturday who simply could not stand to see a team from outside Queensland take out such a parochial and historic trophy, which has evolved from the former Brisbane Rugby League and State League competitions. The clash also is shaping up as a David verse Goliath battle with the Gulls making their grand final debut.

Redcliffe, the reigning premiers, have won the competition five times, appeared in the grand final nine times and have been a dominant force in the competition since its inception in 1996.

The Dolphins are in many ways the tall poppies of the league, but by the same token, Seagulls may find support from unexpected quarters as fans from other clubs look to the underdogs to break the Dolphins' dominance.

Either way, the match looks set to be a classic encounter with no love lost between the two clubs.

The last time the Seagulls and Dolphins met, the controversial contest was decided in extra time.

With Seagulls leading 18-16 and only a few minutes left on the clock, the Dolphins, in front of their home crowd, were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts.

In golden point they crossed to take the match 22-18. In the match before that, Seagulls again led18-16, but a Dolphin length-of-the-field intercept minutes before full-time saw the final score again 22-18.

Seagulls have chartered a bus for supporters on Saturday, leaving the club at West Tweed at 8.30am to get them to Suncorp Stadium in time to see the FOGS Colts grand final at 10.10am.

Football manager Jack Stiles said anyone interested in travelling on the bus should contact the football office on (07) 5536 0812.

The cost for the return trip is only $15 per person, but fans are urged to register as soon as possible. Stiles said another bus could be chartered if demand was warranted.



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