Illawarra Coal Reserve Grade Grand Final- H'burgh
Helensburgh will be going all out to defend their Illawarra Coal Cup second grade premiership when they face the challenge of Wests in the Grand Final at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
Tigers captain and front rower Josh Clay knows the premiers and minor premiers face tough competition from the Devils who finished second at the completion of the regular season.
“They actually knocked us off in the first round down at their home ground which was a really tough game,” Clay said.
“We were lucky enough to get over them when we played them up at the Burgh.
“So I think it’s going to be a real tough game on the weekend.
“They’ve always been a tough game for us over the past few years as well.”
Helensburgh won their way into the Grand Final with a 22-14 win over Thirroul in the major semi-final at Collegians Sports Centre a fortnight ago to earn a weekend off while the Devils were downing the Butchers 32-8 in the final at CSC last Sunday.
“We all got together and we had a training session last Sunday morning and then we all went down and watched first grade together, watched Coal Shield first and then watched the other reserve grade game to see who we’re playing and then just stuck together as a group.
“We all enjoy each other’s company so I think it’s essential for a football team to be around each other a lot especially at this time of year.”
Clay expects the Grand Final to be tough from the outset.
“I think the first 10 minutes is just a big grind, playing for field position,” Clay said.
“Wests are really strong the whole way across the park so our bench has to come on and really step up as well from what the starters do.
“But we can’t slack off in any areas. They’re great across the park, Wests. So we have to be on point for everything really.
“We were lucky enough to knock off Wests in the Grand Final [last year] so they will be extra fired up and we’ll have to come out and match them.
“We want to set the tone for how the first grade is going to come out as well.”