Thoughts of winning consumes the players
HOSTING a grand final and not playing in it is one of the hardest things in country sport – and in 2014 the Miriam Vale Magpies watched on as South Kolan lifted the premiership trophy on their home ground.
The Magpies then spent the next 12 months wanting their own chance to win the competition and after their 26-22 win over Gin Gin in the preliminary final at Avondale, they get that opportunity.
After being involved in a physical battle with South Kolan in the major semi-final a week earlier, Miriam Vale wanted to cruise through to the decider.
But Gin Gin had other plans.
Miriam Vale coach Darren Wildman said he knew the Hawks weren’t going to let them walk into
Miriam Vale coach Darren Wildman Bottom line, mate, at the start of the game we dropped too much ball
the grand final, and his predictions of a tough game came true.
Scores were 10-all at half-time and 16-all in the second half, and once Miriam Vale jumped to the eventual six-point margin Gin Gin made its charge.
Wildman praised the Hawks’ enthusiasm and said there was one area his team had to improve in for Sunday’s grand final against South Kolan.
“Bottom line, mate, at the start of the game we dropped too much ball,” Wildman said.
“In the second half we held on to it better and got the win.”
Ray Kaster in the front row and Jesse Mariner were the best for the Magpies, while Shane Blair’s three tries for the Hawks earned him the praise.
Along with congratulating his players after the win, Wildman applauded Gin Gin for the sportsmanship shown during the season.
When Miriam Vale’s first aid officer and league safe were unavailable, Gin Gin was the first club to lend a hand, getting the Magpies out on the paddock.
As Wildman goes through his working week the thoughts of the grand final will consume his mind.
He said he knew South Kolan were the red-hot favourites for the game and the things he would tell his players this week at training would be to tackle low and hold the ball.
Wildman also hoped the on-field officials were able to keep the tackles below the shoulders.
MIRIAM VALE v GIN GIN: Miriam Vale's Jake Gower playing against Gin Gin in the preliminary final at South Kolan on Sunday.