Pre-Season Training

Dolphin Oval - Monday November 7

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The vision of halfback Tom O'Reilly ensured Redcliffe came away from Lang Park with a 24 - 18 win over defending premiers Wests and a long awaited Brisbane Rugby League premiership.


O'Reilly who blind in his left eye two years ago, came up with a crucial covering tackle on Wests five-eighth Craig Bowen in the 72nd minute as Wests launched a desperate attacking raid against a 12 man Redcliffe side.


Redcliffe led 22 - 18 but Wests winners of the last two grand finals and contesting their fourth in a row were building ominously.


They had appeared to gain a crucial opening when Dolphins centre Jason McGrady was sent to the sin - bin for 10 minutes in the 68th minute.


Wests scored straight from the penalty when centre Sam Smith caught the Dolphins off guard with a quick tap and dived over for the try.


A determined bust by Wests half Barry Berrigan saw Bowen dash away before O'Reilly came from behind and dragged him down 30metres from the tryline.


Possession turned over shortly after that and Redcliffe were able to claim their first title since 1965 to cap off an outstanding day.


With wins to their colts side (12 - 8 over Wests) and reserve grade (32 - 22 over Norths) giving the club the first grand final clean sweep since Souths in 1945 and with the clubs third grade side and the local pub side winning grand finals the week before it made a great year for rugby league on the peninsula.


The 20 -year-old O'Reilly , who laid the foundation for the Dolphins opening try to flashy centre Ricky McGrady with a smart break, revealed after the match that a cataract in his left eye had effectively blinded him after his under 17 season.


" I had the cataract cut out and a plastic lens put into my eye to fix my vision " he said. " It's practically 100 percent now ".


O'Reilly who has received a few feelers from NSWRL clubs about next season, said he reacted instinvtively when he saw Bowen moving into the clear.


" I saw him go and knew I had to get there," he said.


Wests didn't get the start they wanted when big prop Michael Seaby was cut badly over the right eye in what seemed an over vigorous tackle from Redcliffe captain Ian Graham, which admittedly went unpunished.


Seaby was able to return after receiving 6 stitches but was replaced several times due to bleeding from the wound, which he had admitted affected his game.


" Each time I started to get a roll on I had to get replaced . It was pretty disappointing but that's how the game goes" remarked the giant Panthers prop.


A Mark Maguire penalty goal got Wests off to a 2-0 lead but Ricky McGrady's 23rd try of the season after good lead up work by O'Reilly and Graham put Redcliffe ahead after 16 minutes.


McGrady who set to follow team-mate Brad Pike to Eastern Suburbs next season, played in front of a host of relatives including older brother Ewan, the 1991 Rothmans Medallist who may link with the Dolphins next year.


Wests hit back four minutes later when quick hands from Bowen and Smith allowed Maguire to squeeze over in the corner for a 6-4 lead.


A fine individual try from Redcliffe five - eighth Grant Adamson, where he beat three defenders to score near the posts, put his side back into lead at 10-6.


Wests gave up a vital try eight minutes from the break when a mix up in goal between winger Peter Tong and fullback Brett Schultz from an Adamson kick saw replacement forward Andrew Schick pounce on the loose ball to score.


But the Panthers showed their quality by working play down to Redcliffe's end before Australian Residents centre Graham Strutton showed great strength to wrestle away from three defenders and off load to lock Shane Vivian for a try in the 37th minute and a 16-12 halftime score.


The second half was a tighter affair with Wests appearing to have the upper hand early.


But with 24 minutes left on the clock, Bowen elected to take a tap rather than a kick for goal which would have narrowed the Dolphin lead to two points after they received a penalty near the posts.


The move proved unsuccessful, but was backed by Panthers coach Brad Price after the game.


He revealed he sent out the same message " My feeling was to go for it, and I believe Bowie made the right call, even though it didn't come off, " he said.


" It was a 50-50 option and anyway, two points would not have put us ahead."


A turnover in possession shortly after released all the pressure that the Panthers had been applying to Redcliffe.


And Redcliffe made the most of their good fortune to move further ahead in the 61st minute with a try to Brad Pike when he charged through the centre of the ruck following a well timed pass from tireless hooker Barry Collins to put the Dolphins ahead 20-12.


The final tense few minutes teased out the anticipation of the waiting heavily pro Redcliffe crowd.


The crowd of 17,500 was one of the biggest post Broncos attendances for a local grand final, and was large enough to create plenty of atmosphere.


The 27 plus bus loads of supporters who made the treck back to the Peninsula for the biggest part in the Peninsula's history.


One bus had two seats reserved on it one for the Winfield Cup and one for the monkey which was finally off the Dolphins back.

The teams that day were

Redcliffe                     Wests

1.Bevan Canning         Brett Schultz

2.Wayne Miller            Mark Maguire

3.Ricky McGrady          Sam Smith

4.Jason McGrady         Graham Strutton

5.Neil Smith                Peter Tong

6.Grant Adamson        Craig Bowen (c)

7.Tom O'Reilly             Barry Berrigan

8.Brad Pike                 Michael Seaby

9.Barry Collins             John Little

14.Shawn Rubesaame   Dave Liddell

11.Ian Graham              Steele Retchless

12.Kahu Tweedie         Brett Green

13.Craig Spark              Shane Vivian

Reserves                        Reserves

10.Troy Lindsay           David Mills

15.Stepen Leydon         David Fuller

16.Andrew Schick        Cameron Roper

17.Darren Smallhorne   Chris Elliott