A DAY TO DO OR DIE

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

FOR Cen­trals and Burdekin there are no sec­ond chances in this year’s Townsville and Dis­tricts Rugby League fi­nals.

The fi­nals kick- off to­mor­row when Burdekin take on Cen­trals in an elim­i­na­tion fi­nal, and Broth­ers play ri­vals Her­bert River in what will surely be a heated pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

The loser of to­mor­row’s Her­bert River and Broth­ers clash will live to fight an­other day, but not so for Cen­trals or Burdekin.

To make the grand fi­nal ei­ther team has to win three knock­out games, in­clud­ing to­mor­row’s, but the un­der­dog men­tal­ity has been ea­gerly em­braced by both sides.

“We cer­tainly have the self be­lief, 10.40am Char­ters Tow­ers v Cen­trals, Field 1 Noon Cen­trals v Broth­ers, Field 1; Noon Burdekin v Li­ons, Field 2 1.45pm Cen­trals v Burdekin, Field 1; 3.30pm Broth­ers v Her­bert River, Field 1 and when our at­ti­tude is 100 per cent right we’re hard to beat,” Burdekin coach Cameron Miller said.

“As long we’re try­ing our best I’m re­ally con­fi­dent we can give it a re­ally good crack.”

Cen­trals play­ing coach Matthew Green, whose team reached last year’s de­cider, added: “To be the best we have to beat the best,” he said.

“Lo­cal footy’s like that, and if we make it to the end no­body can say we didn’t do it the hard way.”

Burdekin and Cen­trals fin­ished the regular sea­son with eight wins each, Cen­trals fin­ish­ing ahead in fourth thanks to a slightly su­pe­rior points dif­fer­en­tial. They have clashed three times this year, Cen­trals win- ning twice and Burdekin once. Two of those games fea­tured four- point win­ning mar­gins, and the other was a 14point win to Cen­trals, al­though all games went down to the wire.

“It’s come down to the last five min­utes in all games,” Miller said.

“We have the ut­most re­spect for Cen­trals and we know it’s go­ing to be tough again.

“We’ll have to make sure we get the one per cen­ters right and have our de­fence in or­der.”

The ri­vals head into to­mor­row’s en­counter on the back of losses, with Cen­trals los­ing to Char­ters Tow­ers last week­end 25- 14 and Burdekin go­ing down against Broth­ers 42- 14.

Both teams are not dwelling on those re­sults, how­ever, hav­ing rested key play­ers ahead of the fi­nals. “It’s wasn’t that bad at all. We rested a few blokes and a cou­ple of boys made their A grade de­buts,” Green said.

“We’re cer­tainly not happy with the loss, but we were happy enough with how the game went and we’re go­ing to be near full strength.

“Our back five have been re­ally strong, so we need to ask our boys in the mid­dle to have a re­ally big game, and we’ll be count­ing on our halves Wes Bar­rie and James Red­man to di­rect the traf­fic.”

Miller said a strong game from for­wards Ryan Daven­port, Blake Hol­ly­wood and Dy­lan Jensen would be cru­cial if tal­ented Burdekin backs like Isaak Toby are to flour­ish.

“If we play with con­fi­dence any­thing is pos­si­ble,” he said.

Mi­nor pre­miers Western Li­ons earned the week­end off and will play the win­ner of Her­bert River and Broth­ers in week two of the fi­nals.

HIGH STAKES: Ado Wa­ianga in ac­tion for Cen­trals, who take on Burdekin in week one of the TDRL fi­nals to­mor­row. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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