Bulldogs' unfinished business
Rugby League: Chinchilla has unfinished business after clinching the minor premiership last weekend in a game that may have served as a precursor to its quest for the larger prize of a premiership title.
Chinchilla rushed on three tries in the last nine minutes to over-run Miles 40-14 at Bulldog Park, setting up a clash with Wallumbilla/ Surat in the major RDRL semi-final at Roma on Sunday.
The club's reserve grade and under-18 teams have the same appointment after qualifying second in their respective competitions.
In a patchy contest marked by a curious assertion from a Miles official that the game strayed beyond the mandatory 80 minutes, Chinchilla did enough to win without adopting the mindset of earlier victories.
The Bulldogs' 26-point victory was unsurprising.
The team, after all, had lost only two of its 14 regular-season games prior to Saturday; the Devils' wins numbered just two.
Yet, when Chinchilla led by only four points (12-8) at half-time, the disparity between top and bottom was unapparent.
Ultimately, tries by Garrad Brewer (53rd minute) and Frank Roma (57th) tidied up the Bulldogs' showing and though Devils forward Lucas Williams's try four minutes later reduced the deficit, the home side was not again seriously threatened.
Chad Dewson and Steven Brownhalls completed the scoring.
Matt Edwards and Jeff Gilbert shared the kicking duties.
Roma, the players' player, hobbled from the field with a calf strain incurred in his third try.
Both he and fullback Romada Barnes (dislocated elbow) are expected to be fit for Sunday's semi-final.
There's a sense of deja vu in Chinchilla's season: The Bulldogs' last premiership wins in 2014 and 2015 were achieved after a dominant run through the season.
It's worth recalling, too, that the Reserve Grade was successful in both years.
Meanwhile, the presence of Chinchilla's Reserve Grade and U18 teams in Sunday's major semis, along with the A Grade, raises the possibility that all three sides could advance directly to grand finals on August 26.
The RDRL finals system enables the minor premiers and runners-up in all three grades, should they be beaten in the major semi-final, to gain a second chance.
The "reggies”, who play in the shadow of the senior team, finished strongly to beat Miles 28-6 in the early game on Saturday.
Jessie Hammermeister and Carney Rennick each scored twice while Miles could not add to its single first-half try.
Matt Davies, also among the try scorers, was named players' player.
It was their 10th win in 15 starts and a credible pointer to the major semi-final opposite Roma Cities.
The U18's, premiership winners a year ago, must reverse a heavy loss to Wallumbilla a fortnight ago.