Teams For National Finals
AFTER experiencing all the build-up to a grand final – and the emotion of the win – both the Souths Logan Magpies and the Townsville Stingers will have to again harden their resolve for this weekend’s National Finals.
Being hosted in Queensland at Langlands Park this Saturday – Cyril Connell Cup champions the Magpies and Mal Meninga Cup holders the Townsville Stingers will have to prepare well if they are to add a national title to their trophy cabinet.
However, they will face some imposing opposition; with the Magpies to play the Parramatta Eels who took out this year’s Harold Matthews Cup after they held off a fast finishing Newcastle Knights to record a 39-32 victory.
Man of the match Dillon Khoury scored a double for his team, as did hooker Jason Tramontana which saw the Eels run out to a 28-8 lead with 20 minutes remaining. Although the Knights hit back with a two-try haul to captain Sione Mata’Utia, it was not enough to snatch a late win.
The Stingers too will have a difficult task ahead of them to try and contain the red-hot Balmain Tigers who scored an impressive 42-20 win over the Canberra Raiders in their SG Ball grand final.
The Tigers scored 26 points in the second half to take the Raiders out of contention and in the process they ended a 30-year championship drought. Doubles to Nathan Milone and destructive second-rower Daniel Rakvin helped the Tigers on their way to their national grand final berth.
While the Souths Logan forwards were able to come out on top in the wet in a hard fought Under 16 Queensland final against Townsville – conditions this weekend are expected to be much different.
They will have to adjust the way they play for the encounter – but the fact they finished at the top of the table in their Conference playing in all conditions should stand them in good stead to counter what the big Eels outfit throws at them.
Given the attacking firepower of their Sydney rivals, good defence would be high on the agenda for Townsville coach Steve Sheppard going into their Under 18 final.
However, Sheppard is well aware that the Stingers will need to come up with plenty of points themselves – perhaps a lot more than the 22 they scored to beat Redcliffe in the Queensland final.
National Finals - Saturday, May 12
Under 16s: Souths Logan Magpies v Parramatta Eels – 11.30am Langlands Park
Under 18s: Townsville Stingers v Balmain Tigers – 1.15pm Langlands Park