QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Published 4:11pm 21 September 2022

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts
Words by Kylie Knight

Grand Final coaches and captains of the Hostplus Cup and Hastings Deering Colts sides are ready for Saturday’s epic afternoon of footy, facing the media at a press conference at Moreton Daily Stadium today.

The Redcliffe Dolphins’ home ground will host Grand Final day, with the action starting from 10.10am.

The Dolphins play Townville Blackhawks in the Hastings Deering Colts (1.15pm kick-off) and the Dolphins’ Hostplus Cup side will face reigning premiers Norths Devils in the main game from 3.15pm.

Queensland Rugby League competitions manager Dave Maiden congratulated the teams competing this weekend.

He said the day would start with the ‘future of our game’ with the under-17 female and male City V Country (10.10am and 11.40am kick-off.

“I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be seeing a future State of Origin player come out of this match,” Maiden said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing emerging talent that’s coming through our competition.”

Maiden says there are quality players in the Hastings Deering Colts and Hostplus Cup Grand Finals.

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

From the coaches, captains

Redcliffe Dolphins Hostplus Cup Head Coach Scott Murray:

“It’s a great advantage to be playing at home. We know we’ll have a big crowd that are very supportive of the game and most definitely of the Redcliffe Dolphins. It’s a great opportunity.

“We’re confident there will be a big crowd here, it will be a full house. We can’t wait to be part of it.

“We’re going to have to be at our very best to get the rewards that we’re after but we know it’s a good challenge.”

What would it mean to you and the team to win on Saturday?

“It would be a great reward for everybody. That’s why you want to be in these games is to get that result. There’s a lot of hard work that has to go into that. For Norths too, they started in November in the off-season … it’s a long hard track. It really is, but this is where you want to be.”

Read our Q&A with Scott Murray here

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Norths Devils Hostplus Cup Head Coaches Kevin Neighbour and Ben King:

The co-coaches said it had been a great year and they’ve worked well together to get the best from their team.

Neighbour said they were not focused on the notion of winning back-to-back premierships, with only seven or eight remaining from the team who won last year’s competition. They were instead focused on just winning the game.

How will they combat a big Dolphins’ home crowd?

“From what we’ve heard, there’s plenty of people coming across the bridge at the weekend. We understand that the game is at a neutral, but not neutral, venue this weekend with Dolphins being at home. They’re a good side, very consistent. They have some real threats amongst their squad, so it’s just a case of it’s another game. We’ll treat it as it is,” he said.

King said they would need to compete very hard to beat Redcliffe.

“They’re a quality football side that can score points from anywhere on the field. They’ve got a number of threats so we need to defend very well but at the end of the day, it’s competing on every single play, every single moment and that’s what we’re prepared to do,” he said.

King said there were a couple of supporter buses coming along and he was expecting many of the fans who turned out for last weekend’s Preliminary Final to make the trip to Redcliffe.

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Redcliffe Dolphins Captain Sheldon Pitama:

“It’s really exciting and the fact that we get to do it at home is a really positive thing for us. We’re obviously going to have a massive support base here. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here. We set the goal to make the Grand Final and win a Grand Final way back in November as a squad … it’s going to take a lot of hard work, we’re versing a good side. We’ve got a big job this weekend.

“We obviously had a bit of a rough patch at the start of the season but even during that tough period we had faith we could pull ourselves out of it and between the players and the coaching staff we knew what we needed to do and we continued to work hard.”

Is there extra excitement given the club entering the NRL next year?

“We’re the last team ever that’s going to be at the top of this club and next year the NRL side will take priority. It’s a massive statement that we’ve got both teams playing on the weekend and we both hope to be successful,” he said.

“We’re all super tight right now and we’re not looking to change anything, we’re going to look to enjoy this week and the way we prepare, enjoy each other’s company and make sure we all know what our jobs are when we get out there on Saturday.”

What would it mean to you and the squad to lift the trophy?

“It’s been a goal. We’ve expected this of ourselves since the start of the year. It’s about putting a really good performance on the weekend.”

Norths Devils captain Michael Sio:

Sio said the team had regrouped after challenges in the middle part of the season and vowed to finish the season strongly.

He says the players still at the club from last year’s premiership-winning side were trying to build confidence into younger teammates by sharing their experience.

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Redcliffe Dolphins Hastings Deering Colts coach Ben Te’o:

What is he expecting from the Grand Final after both sides had big wins last weekend?

“Two quality teams. We went up there in week one of the finals … didn’t get a result. They had a really good game versus Wynnum and we put in a good performance at home. Two quality teams with a lot of great young talent that I’m sure you will see in the future in the NRL.

“I don’t think losing in a final is that beneficial. They got the week off. We would have loved the week off but unfortunately we went the long way … probably we deserved to go the long way. We’ve fixed up a couple of things in our game and are looking forward to meeting them again,”

He’s hoping Dolphins supporters are at the ground early for the Colts’ game and give them plenty of support.

“At the end of the day it’s a Grand Final. It doesn’t matter where that’s played. Both teams know what’s on the line, so I don’t think it’s going to be a huge advantage for us. They’re a very well-travelled side that have proved they can go anywhere and win. They’ve been here before and they’ve won.”

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Townsville Blackhawks Hastings Deering Colts Coach Steve Sheppard:

“It was good to play them (the Dolphins) in week one. They’re the biggest, strongest team in the comp by far so it was good to get a gauge of where we needed to be. I don’t think beating them earlier in the year or in week one means anything come Saturday, you just need to make sure that you’ve got 17 blokes all contributing to the best of their ability,” he said.

Will there be many supporters in the stands?

“The only green thing will be grass. There will be a few flying down but hopefully we’ll get a couple of supporters from Brisbane to wear a bit of green,” he said.

QRL Grand Final countdown: Hostplus Cup, Hastings Deering Colts

Redcliffe Dolphins Colts Captain Cody Hunter:

“I don’t think I’ve played in front of this big of a crowd that going to come hopefully on Saturday. The boys are all looking forward to it.

“We’re all feeling good. We’ve all bounced back from that 16-point loss I think it was. The boys seem confident, we’re looking good at training the last few weeks.

“I’m really excited. I can’t wait. I’m sure the boys are the same as well. Can’t wait to get out there.”

After a big year in which he secured a train and trial contract with the Dolphins NRL side, what would winning the Grand Final mean to him?

“For me, (it’s) pretty big. I’ve been here since I was seven and played one Grand Final (under-16s) … I think we got pumped 50-0. So, to win this is going to be big for me.”

Townsville Blackhawks’ Colts Captain Aaron Moore:

Moore said the team gained plenty of experience from last year’s Grand Final loss and were keen to “rip in and hope to get the job done”.

“It would mean a lot (to win). This is my fourth year at 21s, and I haven’t got any trophies under my belt yet. It would be good lifting the trophy here but more importantly when we get back to Townsville I’m sure there will be a sea of green back there cheering for us.”

Be part of the action

Tickets are on sale now. Visit the website for details and to purchase tickets.

They can be purchased from as little as $65 for a family of four. Supporter bay tickets are also on sale and available from the website

Along with the four quality games, there will be activities and entertainment for the entire family including the Shell V Power kick for cash, the Gatorade bolt and McDonald’s sideline experience.


Saturday, September 24

10am: Gates open

10.10am: City v Country girls (Qplus.tv / Kayo)

11.40am: City v Country boys (Qplus.tv / Kayo)

1.15pm: Hastings Deering Colts (Qplus.tv / Kayo)

3.15pm: Hostplus Cup (live broadcast on Channel 9)


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