Toads leap into finals after hiatus
RUGBY UNION: Six seasons without a finals appearance has unearthed a killer instinct that is making Toads the ultimate dark horse in this year's SGQ Cup finals series.
Coach Paul Green said yesterday's 41-17 destruction of Caloundra in the elimination final proved Toads have finally unlocked the key to winning big matches.
"We've always had the desire to win, but there have been times when they wanted to win and wanted someone else to do the work," Green said.
"There's more of a killer instinct in them now."
Yesterday's elimination final was the Toads' first appearance in the post-season since the 2007 grand final, but they looked like play-off veterans in front of a vocal Caloundra home crowd.
"We haven't won a grand final yet and we desperately want to put that to bed," Green said.
Toads put to bed concerns about their preparation to the finals following a 37-8 loss to the Lighthouses at Caloundra in the final round of the regular season.
"They caught us on a wet field and we just weren't there mentally," Green said.
"A couple of us did not 'turn up' and we lacked a little bit of direction around the paddock," he said.
"But our preparation through the week was first- class. The players knew that performance last week was just an aberration and they were phenomenal today."
Toads are confronted with the tough task of facing a University side that was beaten 13-0 by minor premiers Noosa in Saturday's qualification final.
The impressive Barbarians were locked in a season-long battle with Noosa for top spot but Toads, who finished fourth, will not be intimidated in the do-or-die clash.
Earlier in the year Green's side travelled to Sippy Downs and beat the then-undefeated University in match that announced the Toads could be title contenders.
University regrouped and proved to be the more dominant team in the regular season but Green believes playing finals football has unlocked something special in the once lowly Toads.