The Ultimate Guide To The 2018 QLD Premier Rugby Finals Series
By Michael Atkinson; Photo – QRU Media
It’s hard to believe, I know, but this Sunday is the first week of finals and marks just a fortnight of club footy left this year.
Our four finals sides are locked in – have been since round 17 – and we know who will face who in the major and minor semi-finals.
To wet the appetite for the semis, we’ve put together a preview all four finals sides ahead of UQ v GPS and Easts v Souths at Ballymore in a double header on Sunday
University of QLD
Ladder position: First
Number of wins: 12
Last five games: WWWWW
Surprise, surprise, UQ have finished on top of the table. It’s the third straight year the Red Heavies have collected the minor premiership, although they were made to work for it a bit more this season.
The past two years, UQ have dropped just one game in the home and away rounds, but in 2018 the competition was far tighter and the Students dropped four matches.
However, it’s the way they finished the season that will have their other finalists worried.
Ladder position: 2nd
Number of wins: 11
Last five games: WLWWW
The Gallopers have clearly been the second best team in the competition this year – highlighted by their double victories over fellow finalists Souths and Easts. The recent thumping at the hands of Uni will burn them though and they will use it as motivation for revenge come Sunday.
But they can’t get too wrapped up in the past; that includes the lonely, dust-collecting, Hospitals Cup-sized spot in the trophy cabinet at Yoku Road.
The Gallopers must put all of that behind them and simply focus on how they got to where they are now and what they do well. They appear to be a better side in 2018 than the one that lost to UQ in the 2017 Grand Final.
Ladder position: 3rd
Number of wins: 10
Last five games: LWWWL
The Tigers really came roaring back to life in 2018. They haven’t feature in the finals since they went down in the 2015 Grand Final to Souths, which is ironically the side they play on Sunday.
Apart from one loss to Bond in Round 13, the Tigers recorded five victories in the rest of their matches against the five sides who didn’t make this year’s finals series – a sure sign they have earned their spot in the top four.
The one thing that will have them nervous however, is their lack of wins against fellow top four sides: double losses to both Souths and GPS, and a defeat to UQ (they did get one over the Red Heavies, but I’ll get to that shortly).
Ladder position: 4th
Number of wins: 9
Last five games: LWLDW
Hasn’t the Magpies’ season been an absolute rollercoaster in 2018?
They started the year on fire, winning seven of their first nine games – and doing it in style, mind you. With Quade Cooper back full time and a host of freakish backs, Souths were sublime with ball in hand.
Emori Waqavalungi on one wing is possible the most graceful player to, well, grace, a football field. He’s got speed to burn and doesn’t lose a yard of pace when he has to change direction.