First Grade Preliminary Final Previews
By Matt Hughes (NRL Vic Media)
This Saturday the NRL Victoria preliminary finals will be held for both the men’s and women’s first grade competitions at Langama Park.
The women’s preliminary final kicks off first at 1.55pm and sees Truganina Rabbitohs host the Northern Thunder. Last week the Rabbitohs had a 14-point loss to Werribee in the major semi-final, whilst the Thunder are coming off a strong eight-point win over Altona in the minor semi.
The two sides have already clashed twice this season, with the Rabbitohs winning both games by an average of just ten points. Anything can happen, but the Thunder will have to find their “A game” if they are to claim victory over the Rabbitohs who had only lost one game before last week.
The men’s preliminary final starts at 3.20pm and is between Werribee Bears and Altona Roosters. Last week the Bears lost in Golden Point to the Rabbitohs, in what was their first major semi-final loss in three years. Altona on the other hand had a convincing 16-point win over the Wolves.
Speaking on their win, Altona Coach Damien Riki said it was a “tough game”.
“We got a few bumps, but we were pleased with our efforts,” he said.
The Roosters do have the wood over the Bears this year. Of the two times the teams have played each other the lower-placed Bears have won both matches by an average of 12 points. According to Riki the team will take a lot from those wins heading into the game.
“We take confidence from our two wins over them,” he said.
“We’ve just gotta do what we do.”
The Bears will be a challenge for the Roosters, as they have won the last three premierships and won’t want to see their dominance end.
“They’ll be a threat and want to overcome their losses,” Riki said.
“It’s do or die and it won’t be easy.”