After posting a dramatic comeback win in the Mal Meninga Cup state final on Sunday, the Western Mustangs are looking to refocus before taking on their next challenge – the Parramatta Eels in the Under 18 National Final.
While the team were able to spend some time soaking in their achievement, coach Eugene Seddon said his next task would be to reset the players’ minds – and for them to reset their goals.
“We are going to focus on the things we have to improve on (for this game) … we made too many unforced errors and allowed Souths Logan to get ahead on the scoreboard,” Seddon said.
However, although there are some areas to work on, he was pleased with how his team performed overall; and of the resilience they showed to claim the win.
The club’s success in the Under 18s competition has also been a real boost for the region, with Seddon saying support for the team has come from far and wide.
“The last few days we have (celebrated) a good achievement … and the impact I have seen in the rugby league community and in the community in general has been huge … I’ve even had messages from the mayor!” he said.
While most of the team is currently based in Toowoomba (Alexander Dunemann however is a Kingaroy product), the Western Mustangs are a new entity on the Darling Downs this season and in many ways exceeded expectations, with the FOGS Under 20s side also making the semi-final stages.
Seddon said the main focus for their maiden season was to work on their junior academies, restructure their trainings and set things up for the club to be competitive – something they well and truly achieved in their first year.
One of the stars of the Under 18 grand final was five-eighth Travis Turnbull who claimed man of the match honours – and he might be able to shed some light on what to expect on Saturday, having previously played with their opposition this weekend.
The powerhouse club at the junior levels, the Eels posted a 30-22 win over the Cronulla Sharks in their SG Ball final.
Parramatta started the game well and were never headed, earning them the chance to compete for the national title.
The team contains a number of players from the side who claimed the honours over Townsville in the Under 16 national final last year, including fullback John-Paul Nohra and forwards Charbel Tasipale and skipper Kyle Schneider.
The game kicks off at Belmore Sports Ground at 10.30am on Saturday morning. Rugby league fans can watch the Live Stream here: QRL Live Stream
Under 18 Western Mustangs
1. Denzel Burns 2. Richard Murray 3. Brock Diment 4. Alex Dunnemann 5. Chris Chalmers 6. Travis Turnbull 7. Cory Paix (c) 8. Blake Cullen 9. Zac Stevens 10. Jordan Crocker 11. Lachlan Perry 12. James Robinson 13. Luke Maiden 14. Cruise Martin-Brown 15. Augustine Stowers 16. Leslie Hartvigsen 17. Laurie Jocumson 18. Zachary Croft
Coach: Eugene Seddon
Under 18 Parramatta Eels
1. John-Paul Nohra 2. Uikilifi Lea'aetoa 3. Haze Dunster 4. Noel Aukafolau 5. Ethan Parry 6. Joseph Taipari 7. Dylan Brown 8. Valance Harris 9. Kyle Schneider (c) 10. Mark Tepu-Smith 11. Matthew Doorey 12. Charbel Tasipale 13. Jesse Cronin 14. L. Tapaatoutai 15. Kyle Cassel 16. Harry Duggan 18. Alex Seve
Coach: Scott Jones
Follow the scores at QRL Live (link below)