After the thrilling high of their down-to-the-wire win over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup grand final; it’s been back to business this past week for the Tweed Seagulls.
With one game still to play in the elite Under 18 competition; coach Tim Maccan said he and his players were embracing the chance to test themselves against the best of the NSW SG Ball in what is set to be a testing National Under 18 Championship game against the Illawarra Steelers.
Match: Seagulls v Steelers
Junior State Championship -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium
“(The players are) really excited about the opportunity; we are really happy we won (the grand final) ... and we are happy we have one more game, we are looking at it as a bonus game, to show what we can do,” Maccan said.
“It’s rare to have this sort of opportunity, only a few teams get this chance to play in a state v state final like this; so it could be a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
While excited to be playing in Sunday's final at Dolphin Stadium, they were also working hard to maintain their focus and were keeping their preparations as similar as possible to what got them over the line in their hard-fought win over Wynnum Manly last weekend.
However, Maccan said despite them claiming the title, there was still a lot of work for the team to do if they were to take the next step and became national champions.
“Our completion rates in that game compared to where we were during the season were right down to 60%, so to win still win against a team that is as high quality as Wynnum is a credit to our defence,” he said.
“We held them up a few times; but we gave them the ball to many times.
“A difficult word to teach (players of this age) is patience.
“When they see an opportunity, they want to take it straight away – they need to learn how to build pressure on the opposition.
“But the team is made up of a great bunch of kids who are looking to be better.
“We went over a few things to improve on and they responded well to the feedback.”
As for their opposition the Steelers – Maccan said they would respect what they had achieved so far, but would work on their own game.
“All we have seen is a copy of the grand final they played against Manly and we have pointed out a few key areas.
“But if we keep to our game plan; we should not have to change much about what we do.
“It will be a high-quality game and there will be good performances between two champion teams.”
For those who cannot make it to the game at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday, May 12 at 11am, the the match will be live streamed on QRL.com.au and the QRL Facebook page.