After sealing their place in the NRL National Schoolboys final following their Phil Hall Cup win in the Queensland final against Marsden State High School 38-22 last weekend, Kirwan State High School are gearing up for their biggest challenge yet.
The Townsville school team travelled down to Sydney yesterday (Monday) morning ahead of their matchup against Westfield Sport’s High School, who booked their place in tomorrow’s national final after a 26-14 victory over Patrician Brothers College Blacktown.
Kirwan players and staff were sent off to the national final via a full-school parade, including words from the school’s deputy principal and a guard of honour for the 18 players who will make the journey to Sydney.
Kirwan State High coach Todd Wilson said his players were looking forward to the opportunity to play in such a prestigious final.
“Some of our boys have never been to Sydney before, but we know at the end of the day, we are here to play a game of footy and give it our everything,” Wilson said.
Both sides have come up against some tough competition in the lead up to the national final, with both sides posting major points against strong defensive teams in their respective state finals.
Wilson said his side would be looking to build on their defensive performances from the state competition.
“We’ve absolutely played some good football the last few weeks, the most important thing now is focus on playing our game in the finals,” Wilson said.
“We know that Westfield are a strong and physical side with some very good-looking attacking shapes, so we are going to need to work extra hard to maintain our defensive structures and take our chances when we receive them.”
The final will take place in Sydney’s Campbelltown Stadium at 12 noon, and is expected to garner a strong local support for the home team Westfields.
Wilson said that despite his players being far from home, his Kirwan side had the quality and the experience to live up to a finals challenge.
“This game is all about trusting each other and our processes,” Wilson said.
“We know that the game isn’t going to be easy and that we can expect tough periods of pressure built up like any great final.
“We’re not coming down here with the knowledge that we are satisfied with what we have already achieved, we’re coming down to play in a national final and hopefully giving ourselves the best opportunity to succeed when the pressure is on.”
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