It's go time for Coffs Rugby
COFFS Rugby coach Paul Butcher doesn't subscribe to the theory that his team should go into this afternoon's MNC Rugby grand final against Port Pirates with anything less than full confidence about bringing home an historic fifth consecutive grand final victory.
"I don't think we're going in as the underdogs," a defiant Butcher said.
"On paper we probably are having lost to them twice this year but we know that we've got the cattle to beat them and if we stick to what we've done all year and we don't play a bad game like we did last week then we give ourselves a good chance of winning."
Butcher's confidence stems from his belief that Coffs are a stronger team right across the park when compared to their highly fancied opponents.
"The sides are pretty much on par when it comes to looking at where our strengths are," he said.
"Their strength is their forwards while our strength is probably our forwards and a few of our backs."
While the greater strength in the backs makes Coffs a more potent scoring force, Butcher has no doubt that this game will be won or lost in the forwards.
"I think it will be a forward battle, we want to try and get away from that but you know what it's like in any code, whether it be soccer, league, AFL or union, you want to try and take it up the guts and hurt them early, so I think it will stick that way but we'll be trying very much to give our backs every opportunity to score."
The thing that pleases Butcher the most about the team qualifying for this year's grand final as opposed to any other year is that he genuinely believes that this has been the toughest competition that Coffs Rugby has ever faced.
"The other sides have stepped up a fair bit," he happily admitted.
"I think that the side that we've had this year is better than the sides that I've coached in the two previous years.
"I think if a couple of years ago we had the likes of Leith Vaughan and a couple of other guys that are in the side now, I think we would've won by a lot more.
"But the Pirates have picked up the pace and so have Hastings and a few others and that's how rugby should be week in and week out."
If being in a grand final doesn't excite Butcher enough, then the fact that the team can win the title on enemy territory is a challenge that the coach is really looking forward to.
"There would be nothing better," Butcher said. "We've got our three teams in the grand final and there will be nothing better than to beat three different clubs in the final and then come home on the bus.
"Unfortunately I think it's a dry bus because that's all we could get on the way back so it will be the longest two hours ever."
So long as the 80 minutes before the bus ride home go according to plan, Butcher won't mind waiting a little while before opening that first celebratory beverage.