Tweed clubs fight for GC silverware
THE grand final of the Gold Coast Rugby League under-19 competition will have a distinctly Tweed flavour when old foes and neighbours Bilambil and South Tweed clash at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
The Bilambil Jets were the first team to book a berth in the season decider, and have enjoyed a week's break, which according to coach Ben King has allowed players to get over niggling injuries.
The Jets' opponents, South Tweed, finished fourth in the competition and have played sudden-death football through the entire semi-finals series.
Last week they defeated Currumbin for the right to play their arch rivals.
If familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes, these guys could be in trouble, because they are no strangers to each other at any level.
King and South Tweed coach Damian Towell coached together some years ago, and many of the players know each other well from their junior rugby league days.
But friendships will be put on hold on Sunday, with both sides eager to become the first Tweed team to secure a Gold Coast Rugby League premiership.
But the similarities keep coming, with both sides having reached the “big show” in a similar fashion, with only two wins the difference between them.
Bilambil scored 522 points for and had 207 points against while South Tweed had 520 points for and 266 against.
But it is definitely South Tweed which has worked the hardest recently.
Last Sunday the Koalas had to come from behind against Currumbin after trailing 12-10 at half-time.
“The most pleasing aspect of our game last week was our defence, especially in the second half against Currumbin,” South Tweed coach Towell said.
“I told the boys that they had to hang tough and be prepared to defend, and they did just that for each other.
“It was real edge-of-the-seat stuff, but it was worth the effort to get to the grand final, especially against Bilambil.”
Towell said the club's new A-grade coach Dean Allen had spoken with the boys after the game and given them a real lift.
“The success of this side has been a great boost for our club, considering it is our first year in the competition and the shaky start we had to the year,” he said.
“We have played the Jets a couple of times this season and know what they are capable of - both sides are very even.
“It will all come down to a case of just who wants it more.”
Jets coach King agreed.
“It's been good to have the week off to help get over injuries and allow some of our under-17s to play in their grand final; we will be looking to a few for the game on Sunday,” King said.
“The players are pretty excited about the game, but we all realise there's still plenty to do.
“I have had some of these boys for the past three years and it's what we have been working towards.
“During the year I have watched these players mature as young men, both on and off the field, and they are a credit to the club as well as being its future.
“It's fantastic to have two Tweed teams playing the grand final and I'm looking forward to what should be a very entertaining match.
“Hopefully we can give our club the first of a couple of premierships on the day.”
With the clubs having a strong rivalry which goes back to the days of the Group 18, Towell and King encouraged their fans to make the trek to the Burleigh Bears ground at Pizzey Park, Miami to witness a great local derby grand final.Grand Final Facts When: Sunday, September 13 Where: Pizzey Park, Miami Who: 11am - Under-19s South Tweed v Bilambil 1pm - Reserve Grade Burleigh v Southport 3pm - A-Grade Bilambil v Southport