Grand final replay fever
THE most anticipated clash of the Gold Coast Rugby League season is upon local fans at the Bilambil Sports Complex this afternoon.
The grand final replay ... the pride of the Tweed, Bilambil, up against reigning premiers Southport. For the Jets, it is a chance to square the ledger, a get even.
For the Tigers, it’s an opportunity to knock the high-flying league leaders off their perch.
Coached by one of the best in the business, victorious Queensland Cup coach Troy McCarthy, the Jets are firing on all cylinders. Undefeated through nine rounds, the Jets have made an emphatic statement in relation to their title aspirations.
Victory today would throw an exclamation mark on it for all to see. Having hammered the minor premiers in a preliminary semi-final last season, the Jets were guilty of not sticking to their guns in the main event.
Their attempts to muscle up and match it physically with the brawny Tigers were futile.
The fast free-flowing brand of football that had served them so well in the semi deserted them.
But not this time, according to skipper Andrew Cross.
Himself guilty of letting emotion get to him in the final and being sent for a stint on the sideline, Cross knows his young troops, whose eldest statesman is just 27, must this time do their talking on the pitch and on the scoreboard.
Bilambil must play their own game. “We knew the final was going to be a tough game, but we let them get to us a little, and got a bit too riled up,” Cross said.
“This game, too, will be super competitive but this time we need to ensure we do what we do best and stick to our game plan.
“They’re bigger than us, so we need to move the ball around and exhaust them. We’re probably the fittest team in the comp, thanks to Dave Brown (fitness coordinator), and we need to use that to our advantage, particularly towards the back end.
“We know they’re going to be sending their big guys straight up the middle, so we’ve worked on our defence around the ruck and winning the wrestle, and I think we’re ready for them. We’ve got a few targets and we’ll be out to shut them down.”
Cross continued to say he would be looking for big games from experienced representatives Jason Klimmis, Paul Rolls and Guy Lanston.
He also praised club president Peter Rigney for taking the club to where it is today with many under-17s and reserve graders knocking on the door of an A-grade berth, and great camaraderie throughout the club with each and every player playing for their team-mates.
Kick-off between 3pm-3.30pm.