Lions draw pride from thriller win
WESTERN Lions coach Josh Stowers knows the hard work is just beginning for his side after they held off Herbert River 32- 28 on Saturday to secure the TDRL minor premiership.
The Crushers had the home ground advantage for the blockbuster final round clash, but the Lions know all about defying expectations in just their second season in the senior competition.
After falling behind 24- 12 at halftime, the Crushers came roar- ing back after the break, but the likes of Chippie Korostchuk and Sione Veukiso stood tall for the Lions as they claimed their first Agrade trophy.
Stowers said the Lions took a moment after the game to soak in the significance of their achievement, but he was adamant they won’t rest on their laurels with a tough finals campaign ahead.
“I said to the boys to enjoy the moment, but come Tuesday ( at training) it’s back to square one. It doesn’t matter where you finish, it’s nil- all in the finals,” Stowers said.
“That was definitely a game we needed to play. It was tough. Anyone who goes to the River knows what it’s going to be like with their home crowd cheering them on.
“We played well in spurts, but we’re going to have to be a lot better than what we were.
“You look at Brothers and Herbert River and they’ve been in these positions before and they can come from anywhere ( to win the grand final).
“You just have got to be on your game.”
The Lions have earned the week off after finishing in top spot, but Stowers plans to keep it business as usual on the training paddock, even organising an extra session in place of a game on Saturday.
The coach said there was plenty of confidence within the playing group, led by hardened campaigners like Nathaniel Bowman and Daniel Pickering, and the Lions were determined to make the most of their opportunity.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence. The boys have trained hard all year and they’ve all bought into what I’ve brought to the club which has been the best thing,” Stowers said.
“Western Lions have never been in the grand final, so it’s a big thing for the club and something I’m really passionate about. We’re 80 minutes away so we can’t leave anything in the tank.”
Brothers capitalised on an jury- ravaged Burdekin side claim a 42- 14 victory.
Charters Towers finished the season with a 25- 14 win over Centrals while Norths secured their long- awaited first victory of the year after beating University 24- 10. into