Potters Game Of The Round - A Grade Major Semi


The #GameoftheRound proudly sponsored by Potters Hotel Toowoomba, and throughout the year Downs Rugby Media will preview the biggest match ups of the Wagners Risdon Cup each week.

The A Grade Major Final will see 2nd place and 2 time reigning premiers Dalby Wheatmen host 3rd placed USQ Saints. The two sides met just weeks ago in round 15 where the USQ side sent the Dalby Wheatmen into the sheds with a bit of a fright as the game was tied 17 all. In true Dalby fashion the side showed why they have been so successful in previous years and showed great composure to close the game out and come away with a 37-24 win.

Dalby have had a great season to date, finishing second and recording just two losses in 18 rounds and coming off the bye last round the Wheatmen will be well rested and refreshed going into Saturday's fixture. Dalby have the ability to score tries from anywhere on the field and have proved that this year scoring 872 points in this year’s season so far, their defence can’t be faulted either conceding just 192 points and recording the second best for and against figures in the Competition. The Wheatmen will work hard off the ball to create opportunities from nothing and will look to put their opposition under severe pressure in defence and force the error. Dalby's team list see's captain Sam Hogarth move back into the stating line up for the first time since round 14, and will be eager to stamp his mark on the match early. 

USQ will start as the underdogs in the Major Semi, however they will be eager to get off to a fast start and get a jump on the Wheatmen. The Dalby side are strong finishers the Saints will need to put a full 80 minute performance on the paddock if they are to see themselves through to a grand final qualifier next week. The Saints side is certainly full of experience, and a number of very versatile players who can play across a variety of positions makes this a very dangerous team. Saints Number 8, Andre Van Staden, will be a key to a USQ win. The dynamic back rower has scored 32 tries in the past two seasons, has finished inside the top 5 of the Mal Eiby Medal count two years running, and the visitors will be surely wanting to get plenty of ball in the hands of Van Staden. 

The battle of the Number 8s will be one of the key battles fought out tomorrow, with Van Staden one of the competitions veteran back rowers up against one of the up and coming talents in Hugh Brosnan packing down the back of the Dalby scrum. The will also be a key battle between two of the best flyhalves in the competition, with USQ's Angus Ramsay and Dalby's Andrew Turner both proving capable of winning matches off their own boot. With both players boasting excellent kicking games, and field possession a key to finals success, whoever can win this battle may well be just what their side needs to come out on top.

USQ have not featured in the finals since 2015, where they finished 3rd and went on to contest the Grand Final against Goondiwindi. No doubt coach Briscoe will have his side prepared and ready for the big final under lights. 

Whilst Dalby are two time reigning premiers, they are a much changed side from their 2016 and 2017 Risdon Cups teams, but a mix of youth and experience will see them well balanced for another finals campaign. 

This major A Grade semi final will be held under lights kicking off at 5.30pm, capping off a full day of Finals Rugby in Dalby. 

FK Gardner & Sons