1983 Easts 14 (B. Tengdahl,B. Backer tries : S. McNally 3 goals)
Redcliffe 6 (S. Cherry try : J. Chapman goal)
(Half-time : Easts 2-0)
Date: 18/9/83 (Lang Park) Att.: 25,000 Referee: Eddie Ward
The class of mercurial five-eighth Wayne Lindenberg was the big difference between the teams in Easts 14-6 win over Redcliffe in the Winfield Cup grand final for 1983. It was only the loss in the reserve grade final which dashed the Tigers' hopes of a premiership quadruple.
The 28 year-old from Toowoomba, lured out of retirement mid-season, set up both tries for Easts. The first was an 80 metre effort eventually scored by centre Brett Tengdahl in the 66th minute, and the next a 50 metre four-pointer by winger Steve Stacey 10 minutes later. The Tigers led 14-0 after Stacey's try and the leaden-footed Dolphins were no chance of getting back into the match.
Lindenberg's display brought back memories of the Tigers 1977 premiership when he single-handedly turned the tide Easts way in their victory once again over Redcliffe - with the turning point being Lindenberg's try just after half-time.
There was a lack of imagination in attack until Lindenberg lifted things above mediocrity with his flair, Easts only leading by 2-0 by way of a penalty goal by Easts forward Shane McNally. Redcliffe had come close to scoring several times in the first half with referee Eddie Ward ruling a "no-try" after centre Steve Cherry thought he had scored from a Shane Bernardin bomb. Three minutes later Easts fullback Gavin Payne missed a touchdown in similar circumstances. However, Redcliffe were back on the attack in a flash when Mitch Brennan made a sensational run, with the Tigers under pressure when the half-time hooter sounded.
The first-half defence had been so tight that it was obvious there would not be many tries scored in the second session. The match was so wide open at this stage that the first try scored would be crucial in the final outcome. Easts coach John Lang told his players at half-time that he believed that Redcliffe's pack was getting on top, and that if they wanted to win they would have to lift their game in the second half. Lang's half-time talk inspired the Tigers with young second-rowers Gavin Jones and Trevor Paterson leading the way after the break.
However, the start of the second half belonged to the Dolphins with half-back Colin Part and Paul Khan both all-but-scoring within 4 minutes. It was classic football mid-way through the second half, with end-to-end football by both teams only being prevented from scoring by last-ditch defence, until Lindenberg clapped on a typical burst to serve Tengdahl.
Finishing grand final bridesmaids yet again, Redcliffe took the defeat graciously with coach John Barber giving full credit to Easts and their coach John Lang. It was Redcliffe's fifth grand final in eleven years, finishing runners-up each time. The Dolphins went into the match without key forwards Vic Tighe who dislocated his elbow in the preliminary final win over Valleys, and Richie Poulsen who had a broken bone in his foot.
Coach John Lang described the 1983 premiership victory as his greatest thrill in football as he feels one becomes more emotionally involved as a coach than as a player.