Connell Cup preview: Magpies v Blackhawks
The Souths Logan Magpies will go head-to-head with defending champions Townsville Blackhawks on Sunday in the state final of the Cyril Connell Cup; in a celebration of the hard work both teams have put in this season.
Undefeated this season – including last weekend’s 24-14 win over the Norths Devils – Magpies coach Lane Bird said his main focus going into the finals was to keep up the consistency that’s gotten them through so far.
“Preparation for us is just ensuring that the boys stick to our plans throughout the whole match,” Bird said.
“We’re a 25-man squad and each week, our aim has just been to build the strongest team we can and make the necessary changes and swap-outs to ensure a win – and it’s working!”
Bird maintains that although a win would be great for the club, ‘it’s not everything’.
“Obviously we’d love a win; it’d be a fantastic reward for the boys after their amazing efforts this season.
“But with Townsville training just as hard as us and also looking for a victory, we’ll just do our best and see what happens on the day.”
In the north, the Townsville Blackhawks are aiming to go back-to-back and secure a consecutive state final win after a close call against the Clydesdales in their semi final.
The Clydesdales pushed them all the way in an exciting game, but the Blackhawks were able to hold on and claim a 34-30 win.
“We lacked a little bit defensively in the semi finals, but we’re making sure we focus on our own processes in the next match and just ensuring that everyone has a good time,” coach Alan Peterson said.
With such a strong camaraderie amongst the Townsville rugby league community, Peterson said remaining cohesive as finals drew closer was key.
“We have such a great culture here in Townsville and for us it’s all about bringing the boys together.
“Our rugby community is made up of lots of little teams, so ensuring that we’re all putting in the hard work is very important,” he said.
The winner of the match will challenge themselves against the winner of the NSW Harold Matthews competition in a National Junior Final next weekend.
Read this and more in this weekend's special edition Game Day program - available only at the ground! Follow the scores for this game via QRL Live.