Blood covered captain leads Dolphins to qualifier
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kawana's Caloundra RSL Cup dynasty was extended another week after blood-covered captain Paul Cohen orchestrated a stunning 16-6 knock-out semi final win over Caboolture.
The 2012-2013 premiers played with a mettle that was reflected in Cohen's unwavering desire to lead his side to live another day.
He copped a nasty knock early in yesterday's match that forced him from the field with blood streaming down his face, but, returned to guide the Dolphins to next week's grand final qualifier against Maroochydore.
The veteran, who confirmed this season will be his last, sent a warning to the rest of the competition by stating the former powerhouse had recaptured the mojo that had once given them virtual ownership of the competition - something that had eluded them in the lead-up to yesterday's win after losing four of their past five.
"We have found that something now that we have been looking for and have got a real kick in our step again," Cohen said.
"We will bring that into next week's match."
Little separated the sides for the first 30 minutes with both teams finding it difficult to break the line.
Kawana eventually ended the nil-all deadlock in the 32nd minute after Tyson Teys dived over next to the posts, which was converted, to give the Dolphins a 6-0 lead at the break.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half provided much of the same arm wrestle before Kawana winger Wade Kelly shook off some flimsy defence to run 70m for a brilliant solo try.
It took Caboolture 65 minutes to post points after halfback Adam Otter scurried over next to the posts to get his side within six points.
But the try of the match went to Kawana front-rower Joel Fitzgerald who made a fifth tackle play that brought the crowd to their feet.
Caught in no man's land on the last tackle, Fitzgerald took it upon himself to put in a grubber kick from the 30m line before chasing at speed and regathering to cross next to the posts.
It was a fitting moment for Fitzgerald who led his forwards through a mountain of work in defence.
Cohen attributed that desire with getting his side home.
"We defended our backsides off today and defence is what wins you games at this time of the year," he said.
"I told the boys at half-time that all we had to do was defend the next 40 and we got stuck into it which won it for us."
With his side just two wins away from notching three premierships in a row to cement their dynasty, Cohen said the time for reflection had not yet arrived.
"It has been great few years for the club but we can't get thinking about that now," he said.
"We have a tough match against Maroochydore now and they have beaten us a couple of times recently.
"We can't think about the big stage just yet."
(T Teys, W Kelly, J Fitzgerald tries; A Forrst 2 conversions)
(A Otter try; A Otter conversion)