A DAY TO DO OR DIE
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.