By Liam Emerton
With the Rugby Capricornia regular season concluded we now know which teams will face off in the A Grade finals series.
It came down to the final round in the end but, with a dominant 39-6 victory over the Biloela Cockatoos, it was the Frenchville Pioneers who claimed fourth place in the A Grade finals.
The Rockhampton Brothers needed to beat the minor premiers Dawson Valley Drovers in the final round and have Frenchville lose to qualify for the final four but neither of those situations occurred.
Brothers put up a gutsy effort but ultimately fell short losing 22-14 at Victoria Park on Saturday night.
The Gladstone Goats, needing a win to secure second place, was almost held to a draw by the Cap Coast Crocs at the Cooee Bay Rugby Fields but a penalty goal on the hooter to Aubre Harmse cemented the GRUFCs as the second-best team in the regular season.
That means, in the format of the split, the Dawson Valley Drovers will battle the Gladstone Goats in a huge opening match of the finals.
The second final will be more intriguing for local Rockhampton supporters with the Colts Rugby Club and Frenchville Pioneers set to clash in the first round of finals.
The two teams faced just two rounds ago with the Colts earning a 14-7 win to plant themselves securely in the finals series.
And in their first encounter with each other this season the Colts managed another seven-point victory, defeating the Pioneers 29-22 in a classic at Tom Nutley Field.
This game will be hosted at Tom Nutley Field with both A Grade games taking place on Saturday at the Colts’ home ground.
Despite the Colts seemingly having the number of Frenchy, the Pioneers were able to perform extremely well under pressure in their game against Bilo in round 14.
They have also shown their ability to defeat big guns at home having beaten the Gladstone Goats at Marley Brown Oval several weeks back.
Frenchville Pioneers coach Steve Anderson said this game could set Frenchy up for a massive run into the finals.
“It was a pretty tough game. Bilo had a bit of a different team to last time we played them but they gave it to our boys,” said Anderson.
“Things did get a bit heated. One of their red cards was a little bit unlucky, it was wet and our boy slipped over and their player stuck an arm out and got him a bit high.
“Thursday was probably our only serious training run we had for the last four weeks. We haven’t really been getting numbers to training so it’s good we got everyone together.
“If we get our top team on the park, Drovers will be hard to beat but I think we could give them a bit of a shake.
“Colts have beaten us twice and we beat Gladstone. So it’ll be a competitive top four.
“The goal is always to win the premiership.”
If the Colts are to defeat Frenchville this weekend the team in red and white could even overtake Gladstone on the ladder.
The Colts sit five points behind the Goats and, depending on the Gladstone result, could overtake them on the table.
If that situation does occur neither side will be able to catch Drovers which will for certain head into the finals series as the number one team.
The reserve grade competition could also be cemented this weekend if the Brothers pick up a win at Cooee Bay Rugby Fields over the Cap Coast Crocs.
The Crocs are five points off the pace with a loss extending Brothers out of reach of both Cap Coast and Biloela.
Bilo will have the first bye of the reserve grade competition.