IT'S ON! Norths, Yeppoon primed for grand final
RUGBY LEAGUE: Completions and discipline.
They are the areas Norths will be be focused on when they tackle Yeppoon in the A-grade men's decider on Saturday.
The Kane Hardy-coached Norths took the short route to the grand final by beating Yeppoon 36-22 in the first semi-final a fortnight ago.
That meant the minor premiers had to go the long way round, taking on and beating reigning champions Rockhampton Brothers 40-12 in last weekend's preliminary final.
The stage is now set for a classic battle at 5.30pm at Browne Park.
Hardy said Norths had been preparing as they would for any other game.
"We're just keeping things as normal,” he said.
"We're excited. We can't wait until Saturday but we're keeping grounded.
"Come 5.30pm, it's out of my hands, it's up to the boys.”
Hardy said Yeppoon had strike power "left, right and centre” so Norths could not afford to give them any easy ball.
"We'll be playing pretty simple football to keep our completions up and stay in the grind with them,” he said.
Hardy said his team had taken a lot of confidence from their semi-final win.
"The last 11 minutes was the best part of our game. We had no ball, we were only up by eight and Yeppoon for 11 minutes came at us straight.
"We didn't get over our half, and defensively we just turned up and turned up.
"They talk about a game of 80 minutes but that 11 minutes was pretty special. That just showed the determination and the will to win to get into that grand final.”
Hardy will look to "experienced heads” such as skipper Mitchel Smith, inspirational hooker Darcy Davey and workhorse forward Matt Jarvis to lead the way.
Yeppoon have been hit hard by injury, losing hooker Dean Blackman, fullback Tully Wehmeier and key bench player Dion Callanan in the past three weeks.
Coach Shaun Goode said while it had been challenging, the depth of the squad meant he had skilled players to fill those positions.
He said his troops were primed for the showdown with Norths, and ready to reverse the result of two weeks ago.
"You don't like to say a loss was a great thing but it was probably the best thing that could have happened to us,” he said.
"It brought a lot of passion back, a lot of energy back and as you saw with the weekend's result (against Brothers) we weren't giving nothing away.
"We've trained for this all year so we're definitely keen to get into it. It can't come soon enough.
"We're not going to change the way we play. We're going to look for high-level completions and look to win the football at the back end of the halves.”
Goode said Yeppoon's spine of Brady McKenna, Jonathon Tavinor, Jared Owens and Parry Boland would need to lay the platform today.
"The side's young, we've got an average age of 23, so there's a chance for those guys to create their own legacy,” he said.
Games on Saturday at Browne Park
- 12.30pm: Under-20s, Rockhampton Brothers v Norths
- 2pm: Reserve grade, Norths v Rockhampton Brothers
- 3.45pm: Women, Rockhampton Brothers v Yeppoon
- 5.30pm: A-grade men, Norths v Yeppoon