Panthers set to pounce on Rosewood in decider
WHILE most of the rugby league interest this weekend will be focused on Sunday, for four teams tonight is all that matters.
The Ipswich Rugby League Open Division 1 and 2 grand finals are on at the North Ipswich Reserve this evening.
In Open Division 1, minor premiers Springfield meet Rosewood, a fortnight after beating them 36-6.
The Panthers have been unbeaten all season but Rosewood coach Corey Bassett thinks the time is right for an upset.
"If we play like we did last week, we'll get along alright," he said.
Bassett was referring to his team's 20-14 preliminary final win over Lowood Tarampa. "That was one of our best," he said. "I'm pretty confident we can do it."
If Rosewood are to win, they have to get the ball away from the middle of the ruck to their quick men.
Springfield's strength is its big forward pack, especially with Rosewood props Beau Muhling and Mick Browning in doubt.
"Out wide is where we'll be able to get them," Bassett said.
"We've got the pace and they've got gaps out there."
Rosewood also has the motivation.
"It would mean a fair bit to the boys to win," Bassett said. "We've got a few who played in the (Challenge Cup) grand final two years ago against Springfield and lost."
In Open Division 2, Redbank Plains claimed the minor premiership but Norths showed their intent when they met a fortnight ago in the semi-finals.
Norths won 34-12 but coach Matt Hayes knows tonight is a different story.
The Tigers are without suspended prop Jonathon Kaspin but that is offset by the return from injury of Fatali Mataio.
"We're quietly confident," Hayes said.
"Redbank Plains charged at us early on when we played them in the semi. But we played our game and frustrated them into making mistakes."
It is rugby league's greatest cliché that the team that holds the ball is likely to win.
It applies doubly so at this level.
"In this division, whoever can hold the ball for two or three sets and gets down the other end will get them," Hayes said. "And discipline too.
"If you get into a good football zone and hold on to the ball for a couple of sets, you'll put on points."
IRL grand finals
- Open Division 1: Springfield v Rosewood 8pm.
- Open Division 2: Redbank Plains v Norths 6.30pm.
Both games at the North Ipswich Reserve tonight.