Barbarians on the cusp of history
THE CLUB set up to be a place for outsiders to make new friends and play rugby is on the verge of creating history on Saturday afternoon.
Casuarina Beach go into Saturday’s Far North Coast Rugby Union grand final as the underdogs against Wollongbar-Alstonville who are aiming for their sixth-straight premiership.
The Barbarians had to come from behind to beat Ballina last weekend to make the decider, while the Pioneers had the week off to prepare for the only side who has beaten them in 2019.
Tight matches have been a constant theme of the Barbarians’ season with 15 of their games played this season being decided by 10-points or less.
The Casuarina side won the vast majority of these close encounters which according to coach Mick Hall can be attributed to the character of the club.
“Most of the senior players are not originally from Casuarina, so the club was set up as a place where you could make 30 mates and play some rugby,” he said.
“This approach has helped us when we are down by a couple of points late in the game, knowing that the bloke next to you will work hard for you to get the job done.”
The underdog tag is not bothering the Barbarians going into the decider, despite beating the Pioneers the last time the two sides met.
Hall said there was plenty of confidence among the playing group that they can cause an upset and achieve the club’s first premiership, three years after forming.
“The Pioneers are the best team and they have been all year, so they are quite comfortably the favourites, but we feel like we have the ability to beat them,” he said.
“We are quietly confident in what we are doing.”
The club’s forward pack has been a major factor in the success of the Barbarians in 2019.
Recruit Mitch Planten has been exceptional in both attack and defence, while breakaway Ross Colvin has proved a valuable asset to the team.
Hall said a massive effort from his forwards this afternoon will give them the best chance of winning the premiership.
“There is an old saying in coaching that you have to earn the right to go sideways, so our forwards have been really good in going forward and laying a platform for our attack,” he said.
“They are big, strong and mobile and when they have the ball they bend the defensive line.”
Kick-off for the title decider will be at 3.30pm on Saturday at Crozier Field, Lismore.