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Milson sets his sights on delivering Wynnum triple crown

They say good things come in threes; and the boys from the Bay are hoping this rings true when they aim up for a BRL three-peat this Saturday.

Their recent run of success began in 2018 with a 28-20 win over Redcliffe, but their title defence looked shaky when facing Valleys in the big dance last year; until a gritty second-half resurgence spurred a spirited 22-20 come-from-behind victory to engrave the proud Seagulls name onto the historic silverware once again.

Fast forward 12 months and Wynnum Manly are preparing to playoff in yet another grand final; this time setting their sights on forging history by etching the club's first three-peat since the Seagulls' foundation in 1931.

And as fate would have it, that magical numeral that brings good things also happens to also be the number of players who will have featured in all three deciders, with one of those being Matt Milson.

Scoring a double in his premiership appearance in 2018; the grand final journeyman at the ripe old age of 23 has been buoyed by the excitement around the club and hasn't forgotten 'that feeling' of lifting the trophy.

"Leading up to this weekend, there's been an amazing vibe around the club and everyone is really excited," Milson said.

"I think everyone is just really looking forward to the opportunity to play.

"It'll be really good if we can get the three-peat... I just want to lift that trophy again."

Joining Milson as the trio who have been there from the start are centre Harlan Collins and prop Corey Davis and Milson said the motivation to keep striving for ultimate glory stemmed not only from the excitement shown by the tight-knit club; but also his immense dislike of being second best.

"I am just excited for everyone else to be honest," the back-to-back premiership-winning fullback said.

"This club means a lot to me.

"Playing in my third grand final, I'm just excited for everyone else to see what they can do on the field.

"But I'm also not a person who likes losing, so I just want to get out there and do everything I can for the team. I just really want to win again."

Despite not retaining Papua New Guinea internationals Edwin Ipape and Rahdly Brawa and 2019 player of the grand final Tristan Hope this season, the side has been bolstered by the inclusion of a number of Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts talents, plus the star signing of former NRL backrower Luke Bateman who has helped the 'Gulls continue being the powerhouse they are renowned for.

"Luke Bateman has been outstanding," Milson said.

"I mean, everything he does on and off the field is really professional.

"It's also been good with some of the other Cup boys dropping back, but even some of our younger guys coming through like Harrison Graham and Max Plath ... those two just show so much heart for the age that they are.

"I mean, they're only like 18 or 19 or something like that.

"They're definitely putting their hands up for Intrust Super Cup next year.

"But we have a solid team across the park with really strong backs and forwards and everyone all-round has been great on and off the field this season."

What a weapon!' - Harrison Graham

Facing West Brisbane, who have plenty of strong motives to win - including the desire to send coach Craig Ingebrigtsen out a winner - Milson believed his team would need to play their own game in order to fend off the Panthers' strong middle third.

"I think we just have to stick to our game plan. I know they're going to come out nice and hard for that first 10 to 20 minutes or even that first half," Milson said.

"They're going to want to put plenty of pressure on us.

"I think if we just keep running one out, we're just going to get dominated because they have a really strong forward pack.

"We'll have to move them around side-to-side and try to get quick play-the-balls from the forwards and also complete our sets.

"Everything will come off the back of that."

With the Chook Pen expected to be out in force in their typical parochial, vociferous fashion; Wynnum's A Grade side won't be the only Seagulls team they'll make noise for on Saturday, with the club's Reserve Grade outfit also suiting up for their encounter against Valleys.

"We don't class each other Reserve Grade or BRL players - we are just one big team," Milson said.

"So everyone [A and Reserve Grade] has been training together for our Tuesday session the entire year and it's been great for both sides.

"With our Reserve Grade boys, they put their hands up all the time and train nice and hard, especially against us in our opposed sessions.

"They have a young side as well and I reckon they'll do the job over Valleys."

 

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Most importantly, the entire Wynnum Manly family will be inspired to lift the trophy for their beloved mate Mitch Cronin, who tragically passed away earlier this year.

"We're definitely playing for Mitch this weekend," Milson said.

"All the boys will be going out there in the last game of the season to play for him and they'll be certainly putting their heart and soul into it.

"I think everyone will be wanting to put in the hard work for Cro to try to get the win for him."

The In Safe Hands Cup decider between Wynnum Manly and West Brisbane Panthers kicks off at 4pm Saturday at Pathion Park.