Mariners ready for Swans in first-ever finals appearance
AT A quick glance it would be easy to write the Fraser Coast Mariners off as a genuine chance to win the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union reserve grade title.
A competition dominated by Caloundra and Noosa, the Mariners finished more than 20 competition points behind the top two sides.
But a closer look at the results has the Mariners placed as a dark horse in their first SCRU finals series.
Caloundra and Noosa's only losses this season have been against each other, and the only other team to get close to either side is the Mariners.
Fraser Coast drew both sides once each this season, and in both could have emerged winners.
Before the Mariners can take a shot at the Lighthouses and Dolphins, they must tackle Maroochydore Swans.
The Mariners have yet to beat the Swans this season, but a 12-all draw in their last encounter has the Fraser Coast confident it can pip its opponents.
Coach Trent Devere has said several times that reaching the finals was a bonus.
"We've accomplished everything we aimed for, anything else - like finals - is just a bonus," Devere said.
The Mariners led Caloundra 21-12 at halftime in their final match of the regular season on Saturday, but were unable to withstand a late Lighthouses surge.
Kale Hendle had a chance to win it for the Mariners from a late penalty, but his 45m attempt faded just to the left of the uprights.
"It was a tough kick but he only just missed it," Devere said.
"If we take the form from the last few weeks into the finals we'll go well."
All clubs will enjoy a week off this weekend before they tackle finals on Sunday week.
Played: 16 Won: 5 Lost: 7 Drawn: 4
Finals, Week 1
August 23: Fraser Coast Mariners v Maroochydore Swans
Head to Head
Played: 3 Won: 0 Lost: 2 Drawn: 1