Tigers roar past Seagulls into Grand Final
Easts Tigers have roared their way into an Intrust Super Cup Grand Final showdown against Northern Pride after defeating Wynnum Manly Seagulls 30-12 in Sunday's Preliminary Final.
The Tigers piled on five unanswered tries at one point during the second stanza with halfback Cody Walker the star, scoring one try and having a hand in three others to complement his first try just shy of the break.
Locked at 6-all after a tight opening 40 minutes, the Tigers' rampaging second-half performance ensured they would book a place in Sunday's Suncorp Stadium decider against minor premiers Pride.
The Pride qualified for the grand final courtesy of their tense 8-7 victory over the Tigers in the Major Semi-Final with the September 28 showdown promising to be even more pulsating.
Easts will be seeking to make amends for last year's grand final defeat to Mackay, while the Pride will line up in their first decider since taking out the title in 2010.
After a tight opening tussle at Langlands Park, it was Wynnum who opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when departing Seagulls' hooker Jake Granville snuck over the line from dummy-half to hand the visitors a 6-0 lead after Matt Seamark's conversion.
The Tigers responded three minutes later when Jordan Kahu's grubber close to line was regathered by Cody Walker, who turned on the afterburners to streak away for a 95-metre try that levelled the score after Don Malone added the extras.
Two minutes into the second half a clever dummy and swivel by Walker allowed the influential halfback to evaded four Wynnum defenders and scoot over the line for his second try to take the score to 12-6.
Veteran centre Shane Neumann etched his name onto the scoresheet in the 48th minute with a try out wide after winger Jarrod McInally batted the Steeden back in his direction from a Walker bomb, taking the score to 16-6.
In the 55th minute a brilliantly-placed cross-field kick by Walker landed straight in the bread-basket of Tigers winger Richie Kennar who planted the ball over the line for Easts' fourth try of the afternoon to make it 20-6.
Walker was involved again in the 65th minute when he came inches close to planting the ball down on the chalk after a piercing run. However, his quick play-the-ball ensured Don Malone an easier passage to the line as he forced his way over to take Easts out to a 26-6 lead.
Hooker Tommy Butterfield sealed the result and Easts' place in the ISC Grand Final eight minutes from full-time when he muscled his way between two Wynnum players to score and take the Tigers out to an unassailable 30-6 advantage.
Jake Granville scored a consolation try for Wynnum five minutes from time to take the score to 30-12 at the final whistle.
Easts Tigers 30 (Cody Walker 2, Shane Neumann, Don Malone, Richie Kennar, Tom Butterfield tries; Don Malone 3 goals) def. Wynnum Manly Seagulls 12 (Jake Granville 2 tries; Matt Seamark 2 goals) at Langlands Park, East Brisbane. Half-time: 6-6. XXXX Man of the Match: Tom Butterfield (Easts).