2018 was a year of major success for the Easts franchise, culminating in the Tigers third grand final appearance in the last five years. Signifying the dominance of the side since the 2013 season.
Following a semi-final exit in 2017 against eventual runners up Sunshine Coast, the 2018 season shaped as an optimistic one as the Tigers looked to go two games better then their 2017 season.
The signing of Easts junior and NRL premiership winner David Tyrell alongside his former Rabbitohs teammate Brett Greinke had hopes high amongst the Tigers faithful who had recruited well.
A nail-biting opening round loss to the CQ Capras 15-14 followed by a bounce back win against Mackay in round 2 set the tempo for a see sawing start to the season which saw the Tigers unable to string wins together.
A gritty round 6 win in Cairns against the Northern Pride had the Easts sitting at an even 3 wins and 3 losses. However, what would ensue over the next two months would prove to be a nightmare period for the Tigers.
Four losses on the trot had the Tigers sitting at a lowly 3-7 record before reigning best and fairest Billy Walters inspired the Tigers to a massive 54-16 win over Wynnum Manly and doubles to wing duo Linc Port and Jarrod McInally seeing the Tigers register their first back to back win with a 30-12 victory against PNG.
Seemingly all momentum was halted with Easts shutout in North Queensland, the Blackhawks registering a 32-0 drubbing of Easts. However, whilst the result read poorly for Easts fans, what would follow in the next two months of football would have to be seen to be believed.
The Tigers went on a rampage winning eight of their last ten games to come from the most unlikely of positions to finish fifth and secure a finals berth. Rallying from a 5-8 record to finish the season 13-10 and locking in an elimination final with the Northern Pride in Cairns.
Despite their hot run into the finals, Easts would have to win four games of football to hold the Intrust Super Cup. However, the 2018 season had already proved that the Tigers were not intent on listening to the naysayers.
With their tails up, the Tigers overcame the losses of key trio Scott Drinkwater, Brodie Croft and Billy Walters to keep the Pride scoreless recording a massive 32-0 victory in Cairns. Replacement halfback Josh Ralph claiming a hat trick in the match.
The free running Tigers attack at will mantra continued against Ipswich the following week, piling fifty on the Jets in a 50-20 demolition. Halfback Brayden Torpy scoring 22 points alongside Marion Seve’s hat trick in the match.
A spot in the grand final was up for grabs when the Tigers headed to the Gold Coast to take on the Burleigh Bears. Burleigh had defeated Easts in the final round of the competition with the Bears entering the match as heavy favourites.
A return for Billy Walters and Sam Kasiano alongside Storm teammate Scott Drinkwater set up a deadly trio for the Tigers. Despite trailing 12-8 at halftime, Easts took the ascendancy in the second half scoring five times to put the match to bed securing a 36-26 victory.
The Tigers overcame three weeks of elimination football to qualify for the grand final in the unlikeliest of circumstances. However their biggest challenge awaited them yet.
With the minor premiers the Redcliffe Dolphins standing in their way the following week at Suncorp Stadium.