Helensburgh determined to go one better

By Mitch Jennings - Illawarra Mercury

They could be forgiven for feeling an uncomfortable sense of deja vu but Helensburgh captain Steve McCallum says the Tigers aren't dwelling on the past ahead of Sunday's grand final clash with Wests.

The Tigers looked to have one hand on the premiership when they entered the finals on a 14-week winning streak that saw them pick of Challenge Cup silverware and the minor premiership.

Their first hiccup in more than three months proved costly when they were pipped 28-26 by Wests in the major semi-final, forcing them to fight their way into the decider with a 16-12 preliminary final win over Thirroul last week.

It's the same path they've taken to three previous grand final defeats, including last year's 18-16 loss to Thirroul.

Having skippered the Tigers in all three deciders, McCallum insists previous heartbreak will have no bearing on this year's result.

"It doesn't get to us," McCallum said. "We've had a different opposition every time and we don't really think about what's happened in the past.

"It's business as usual this week. We still train twice and treat it like any other week.

"Obviously, there's a big prize at the end of it and we're pumped to get another opportunity.

"We've never made excuses. We've got Boyley [Jarrod Boyle] and Smithy [Grant Smith] back now so we should be at full strength."

The Tigers were uncharacteristically slow out of the blocks against the Devils two weeks ago, surrendering a 12-0 lead in 15 minutes.

While it's forced them to take the back door into the decider, McCallum said his side had used the extra game to its advantage.

"We'll take it as a positive that we got the extra game in and we'll be battle-hardened for the big one.

"It's always hard coming through the back door but it gives you that extra game to get things right."

He said the Tigers had the chance to correct "a few things" that went wrong in the previous encounter.


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2018 Hardware Man Illawarra League First Grade
1 Wests 23
2 Thirroul 23
3 Collegians 22
4 Dapto 20
5 Berkeley 12
6 Helensburgh 8
7 Corrimal 4