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The grand final still talked about today

As the hype and excitement builds for today's Mount Isa Rugby League grand final, the traditional rivalry between opponents Wanderers Devils and Town Lions is more than established, thanks to an epic grand final battle that is still talked about around town to this day.

Like most senior competitions throughout Queensland, the Mount Isa A Grade competition has been no different with a shortened year - only featuring Wanderers, Town and the Black Stars - but the abridged season hasn't worried 2020's grand final opponents, with memories of their epic 2015 decider being rekindled this week in the lead up to today's big clash.

Minor premiers Wanderers will go into tonight's game as slight favourites, being undefeated throughout the season and defeating Town on the two occasions they’ve met.

However, Townies will be aiming for four-in-a-row to follow on from their very successful three-peat efforts beginning in 2017.

As usual with the MIRL competition, player's work commitments have played havoc with the ability for their respective club coaches to assemble the same side on a regular basis; however, there are danger men and potential match winners across the park in both sides with a healthy blend of youth and experience.

Wanderers will be headed by Lance Cope, Adam Kleier, Paul Lapu, Clargie Saltmere, Diega Teaukura, Luke McKenna, Chavez Hegerty and Simeona Tala-Sio; while the likes of Rohan Schulz, Ronnie Francis, Scott Perrin, Dylan Buckingham, Nicholas Cooke, Bronson Smith, Darcy McDonald, Jackson Siemer, and Te Urewwera Potini will pose threats to their opposition.

Cris Lucas is one player who featured in the 2015 thriller as a member of the successful Wanderers side, but is on the other side of the field this year, lining up against some of his old ex-team mates.

As is the case in 2020, Wanderers were also the minor premiers six years ago and secured a grand final berth in slick fashion with a 26-point win against Town, 36-10.

Town then overcame a spirited Normanton Stingers in the preliminary final to go on and qualify for the big dance and a return battle with their arch rivals.

The epic 104-minute marathon between the two is still regularly talked about to this day, after the Devils scored in the fourth minute of golden-point extra-time to lift the 2015 silverware.

Things looked bleak early for Town, down 16-0 after Wanderers put on three tries, but they hung in there and bounced back to only be in arrears by eight points at half-time.

The second half was a real arm-wrestle as both sides continued to try and attempt to assert their superiority, but no sooner as it appeared one side was getting on top, their opponent grabbed some momentum and all of a sudden, it was game on again.

At the completion of an enthralling 80 minutes, it was all locked up at 32-32.

And even after playing 20 minutes of extra-time, that could not separate the two; both scoring a four-pointer in the extra minutes to be level at 36-36.

Two of the competition's leading sharp-shooters, Marty Paulson (Town) and Anton Saltmere (Wanderers) narrowly missed important goals kicks during this period, adding more suspense to the contest which had every supporter on the edge of their seats.

Just after the golden-point period kicked off, a costly knock-on from Town handed Wanderers possession inside the attacking half with a great opportunity beckoning.

The minor premiers took full advantage of the Lions' misfortune and in the 24th minute of extra-time, some great lead-up play by halves Clargie Saltmere and Ryan Cassady led to high-flying winger Matthew Toby's try out wide, giving the Devils the premiership in a thrilling contest that is still reminisced about today, winning 40-36.

Whilst there were many outstanding and courageous performances from players on both sides, Wanderers' second-rowers Mark Bull and Adam Kleier were awarded joint-winners of the prestigious Jack Lee Memorial Trophy as the players of the match, which was presented by former Canterbury Bulldogs player Billy Johnstone.

This heroic contest has certainly been a yarn that has been spun once or twice this week in the lead-up to tonight's contest, and with the great rivalry these two stalwarts share, there is every possibility another epic chapter is about to be etched into the history books when they meet again for Mount Isa's ultimate glory at 5.30pm.

Wanderers Devils 40 (Corey Carlson 2, Cody Saltmere, Daniel Simmons, Ryan Cassady, Brenton Stonier, Mark Bull, Matthew Toby tries; Anton Saltmere 4 goals) defeated Town Lions 36 (Tyler Donald, Bronson Smith, Daniel Dunne, Ronald Francis, Nicholas Cooke, Jack Wilson tries; Marty Paulson 6 goals)