Wolves, Snakes set for epic grand final encounter
RUGBY LEAGUE: They’ve been the hard-hitting heavyweights all season and rival captains Mitch Buckett and Tom Murphy expect nothing less than an arduous battle for supremacy when they meet in the decider.
Stanley River Wolves and Caboolture Snakes will fight for Division 1 season silverware at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm).
The Wolves head in as minor premiers with a 10-game winning streak and week off behind them.
“We’ve had two really good sessions this week and the boys are feeling fresh and primed ready for a big one on Saturday,” captain Tom Murphy said.
The Wolves returned to the top tier for the first time since 2002 this year and have dropped just two games this season.
They enter the match on the hunt for their first premiership since 1992.
While in form and fresh from a week off Murphy expected a mighty tussle come kick-off.
“I think it’s going to be a really tough game and I think we’re going to have to play our best footy for 80 minutes,” he said.
“I know in the semi-final there we were actually down 20-10 (against Snakes) at one stage so we know what Caboolture are capable of, we’ve just got to turn up on the day and play our best footy.”
Restricting the Snakes pack would be crucial.
“Caboolture are a really solid side across the park but I think down the middle they’ve got some really big boys there in the front row,” he said.
“So, we’ve got to do a good job on their forwards and slow that ruck down and also try and control their edges.”
He said he’d relished the year with the Wolves and wasn’t surprised to see his outfit in the decider in just their first season back in the competition.
“I think Rowan and Callum have done a really good job of making sure the guys are accountable straight away and we’ve trained hard.”
Caboolture head into the match having taken the long road but are in form and up for the fight.
Buckett, who is in his 16th season with the club, was looking forward to the battle.
“The two best teams in the comp have made it through, that’s for sure,” he said.
“We’ve proved in a couple of games that it’s a tight affair and there’s always a lot to play for and a lot of mutual respect between the two teams and it’s going to be nothing different on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a cracker game.”
He said the Snakes wouldn’t be straying too far from their usual game plan.
“It (key) is just not changing anything we’ve done all year, sticking together and sticking strong,” he said.
“We know if we do everything that we’ve worked on throughout the year and in the finals series that we’re in with a fair chance.”
Kick-off is 5.30pm.