The stage is set for a blockbuster Intrust Super Cup Grand Final at Moreton Daily Stadium on Sunday, with Wynnum Manly Seagulls looking to erase the disappointment of losing in 2019 and Norths Devils looking for their first Cup win since 1998.
Coaches, captains and star players joined QRL officials in checking out the silverware and the stadium during a press conference today.
The QRL’s David Maiden says he’s proud to host the Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts grand finals at Moreton Daily Stadium.
“It’s been a disrupted season through COVID, our depth has been tested but thanks to the incredible talent that’s emerging through the Hastings Deering Colts which has seen 74 players go on and make their Intrust Super Cup debuts … we’re very pleased get to this stage,” Maiden says.
“Touch wood, we’ll get there on Sunday. We’ve got everything prepared for that.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery said Moreton Daily Stadium is quickly becoming one of South East Queensland’s premier venues for sports and major events as it gears up to host the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final for the second successive year.
“This will be the second year of a three-year deal for Moreton Daily Stadium to host the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final, which is a great testament to the region’s growing popularity as a major events destination and the stadium’s status as the best boutique sports venue in Australia," Mayor Flannery says.
“Council’s input of $8.4 million has already been well worth the investment to the overall $24 million stadium, which has played host to A-League and NRL matches this year, and many more grassroots events that provide business opportunities and promote sport in the region.
“The Intrust Super Cup Grand Final is another shot in the arm for local businesses, with thousands of spectators set to flock to the region for the decider.
“Moreton Daily Stadium’s not only a great asset for our local economy but the development of rugby league right across the region with 650 of Moreton Bay’s registered 5,600 junior rugby league participants playing at Dolphins.
“With the NRL Grand Final done and dusted it’s great to have clean airtime to showcase our fantastic stadium on Sunday to the rugby league world, and hopefully it’ll soon be taking centre stage in the NRL if the Dolphins be successful in their bid.
“Both Wynnum and Norths have been playing some cracking football all season, so I can’t wait to see what they produce in the final match of the year.
“I encourage all locals and travelling fans to grab a ticket while you still can, and make the most of your time here by exploring our beautiful hinterland or our stunning coastlines and everything in between.”
Wynnum Manly Seagulls captain Sam Scarlett says Norths are a good side ‘right across the park’.
“We’re just going to have to kick well. They’ve got a good back five, so we’ll look at the video and see how we go,” he says.
“It’s going to be hot, so I think if we can tire their middles out and they’ll be trying to do the same thing to us … we’ll see how we go.”
Scarlett says the team will take confidence out of their win against Tweed heading into the big one against Norths.
“We took a lot out of that game … a lot we can fix though … we’ll work hard this week,” he says.
As for the five players in the squad who remember the pain of losing the 2019 Grand Final, they’ll be aiming to go one better.
“We spoke about it at the start of preseason. We set that goal for us boys that had been there because it hurt a lot losing that game. We’ll use that … have it in the back pocket but it’s a new squad as well, so everyone’s trying to look to the future and trying to think about this game,” Scarlett says.
He’s looking forward to a big, vocal crowd on Sunday.
“I think it will be good here. Redcliffe’s obviously done a magnificent job here with their stadium and the field’s unreal. Hopefully everyone gets out here. It’s not a massive stadium, so it makes it that bit louder,” he says.
It is rumoured the club’s famous ‘Chook Pen’ has promised to bring busloads of supporters.
“I have heard that the old chookie will be here, whether they’re here or not you’ll probably hear them they get that rowdy. It will be good, a few buses coming out. They love it. We’re a big community out there at Wynnum … it’s not just about us boys on the field, it’s about the whole area,” Scarlett says.
Wynnum Coach Adam Brideson says the 2019 loss is not something the squad is focusing on this week.
“We haven’t spoken too much about it to be honest. There’s no point looking back … it’s a different roster, the season’s been really good and they’ve been building really strongly over the last month,” he says.
“Obviously, the experience of being through a Grand Final will put us in good stead. It won’t be used as a major driving force but obviously we’ve had that experience and it’s something that we can draw on.”
When asked if winning the minor premiership added to the pressure to win, Norths Devils captain Jack Ahearn is quick to answer.
“Only if you think like that. That was a great achievement for us at Norths, something we’re proud of. Now, we refocus to the big one and that’s what we want to win so come Sunday it will be game on,” he says.
“All the old boys are always in talking about those days … ‘98 was the last time they lifted the trophy. All the boys at Norths, all the Old Boys in particular, are getting around us and really supporting us.”
Ahearn says his side will be doing everything they can to contain rising Broncos and Wynnum star Selwyn Cobbo, but are happy with their own form after a good win against Burleigh.
“It’s really about being present in the moment. We’re enjoying the week. It’s Grand Final week, a lot of excitement and a lot of nerves. It’s about being present and making sure we prepare as best we can at training,” Ahearn says.
“I think we have an area in the grandstand there for Norths and I’m looking forward to copping some words from the Chook Pen. It always adds to the thrill of the game.”
Norths Devils coach Rohan Smith says winning QRL Coach of the Year was more a recognition of the club, than of him personally and he’s focused on the main prize.
“Players win those things for coaches. It’s always been about this weekend, regardless of that,” Smith says
“I very focused on doing what I can to help Norths win, they took a punt on me a few years back to give me an opportunity to come up to Queensland (and join them). I’ll try to do my best to repay that faith.”
When asked about the high number of Broncos-affiliated players in the Wynnum side, he says: “We’re very much a Devils’ outfit this weekend, which is exciting in its own right”.
The Intrust Super Cup Grand Final will kick off at 3.10pm, following the Hastings Deering Colts Grand Final between Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Townsville Blackhawks.
GRAND FINAL DETAILS
Norths Devils V Wynnum Manly Seagulls
When: Sunday, October 10. Kick-off is at 3.10pm
Where: Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
Tickets: Family tickets from $55.