Dolphins lose halfback for decider
The Redcliffe Dolphins will be without star halfback Darren Nicholls for the Intrust Super Cup grand final, with coach Adam Mogg ruling out his chief playmaker on Tuesday.
It's a huge boost for the Burleigh Bears as both teams prepare for Sunday afternoon's grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
Nicholls is the leading point-scorer in the Intrust Super Cup, and his importance cannot be undervalued as the Dolphins attempt to win their first Queensland Cup title since 2006.
The Broncos affiliate did not play in his side's 38-16 preliminary final win over the Sunshine Coast, with Zach Strasser and stand-in halfback Christian Hazard instead taking the reins.
It would be heartbreaking for Nicholls to miss the grand final after putting together a superb year that saw him finish fourth in the competition's most prestigious individual award, the Courier Mail Medal.
But it appears the classy half has succumb to a quad tear, with Mogg telling media there simply wouldn't be enough time for Nicholls to recover after suffering the injury less than a week ago.
"Darren Nicholls is definitely out. He has a grade two tear," Mogg said.
"If he's available then he'll play, but it's in the hands of the physios. Grade two tears don't generally heal in seven or eight days.
"It's easier to prepare knowing that he is out. We've had a lot of injuries this year and we've always managed to cope and move on.
"I have full faith in our squad whoever plays. We have 17 players who are willing to put it all on the line come Sunday."
Sunday will be the second time in just two weeks that Redcliffe and Burleigh have met, with the Bears winning 40-24 in week two of the finals.
That result allowed Burleigh to enjoy a week off, and although the Bears are feeling fresh, they still have key players fighting the clock to be fit for Sunday's decider.
"We had two injuries in the last game we played but the week off has helped with that," coach Jim Lenihan said.
"We had a bit of judiciary drama so it's just been good to clean all that up over the week off.
"We're fairly settled with our side at this point, but we are just waiting on a couple of other blokes who might make a return.
"Jeff Lynch is a chance of a late call-up after doing a medial four weeks ago.
"Oliver Regan is the other one who is a chance. He's had problems with his medial as well. We are just waiting to see if they'll be fit."
There is no doubt both Lynch and Regan will be trying their best to get out onto the park come Sunday as the Bears try to win a Queensland Cup grand final for the first time since 2004.
Their job has been made easier with Redcliffe and Brisbane Broncos winger Jonus Pearson not being named in the Dolphins' side.