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Peters, Johnson excited but grateful for new Holcim Cup

Countless storylines can be penned about this weekend's South East Queensland Women's grand final.

The focus could be on Goodna's plethora of young talent that has led to their promotion to the top grade or even on Runaway Bay's aim to avenge last year's heartbreaking grand final loss to Pine Central. 

But for experienced Queensland and NRLW star and Seagulls captain / coach Rona Peters, she wants this weekend's big dance to serve as a reminder to how lucky Queensland is to still be out playing the greatest game of all, especially given this week's postponement of the upcoming NRLW season.

"Most of our girls are feeling really grateful because some girls are missing it at the moment and some haven’t played in months. Also, New South Wales have had no footy so we are very grateful that we get to play some kind of footy especially with the NRLW being postponed to next year," Peters said.

After a five-week hiatus of SEQW due to the recent COVID-19 lockdown, last year's beaten grand finalists are back in the biggest game of the year, hoping to this year finish on top after 70 minutes.

"You only get a shot at a grand final once and all the hard work that you put in during the season kind of goes into that one last game you play which is the grand final," Peters said.

"It's about what you learn from those games and if you want to make the improvements and get better, that's what I take away from it.

"It was a bit of a harsh one to cop last year but it is what it is and it’s a new year this year and I just look forward to playing this year, that’s the main thing."

Rona Peters in last year's SEQW grand final. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Rona Peters in last year's SEQW grand final. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

For opposition captain Suzanne johnson - who has played all levels of the game - she said the break had its advantages and disadvantages for her young Eagles side in their debut year of first grade.

"Interestingly enough, it’s actually given us enough time to recover from what has been a strenuous season on the body because Division 1 has been quite full on," the former Jillaroo said.

"The break has been good, but it has put a halt on our team with getting into that continuity.

"The big game is the grand final and you play all season to get into that so when there is such a big break, it is a little bit challenging but so far, we have been able to regroup and get to training and the girls are looking good."

Goodna captain Suzanne Johnson. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Goodna captain Suzanne Johnson. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

Finishing as minor premiers and defeating Runaway Bay by two points in the semi-final to book a ticket to the big dance, johnson said the outpouring of community support had helped the Eagles soar this season.

"A good thing about Goodna is the community vibe out there. We’ve got the support from the entire community," johnson said.

"Even places like gyms and stuff – we’ve been invited to a number of different areas to train so the amount of community support has been tremendous for our game and has been one of the biggest things that helped us get over the line."

Expecting a tough, physical contest, Goodna won't be taking their opposition lightly, given their experienced line-up.

"Bay has got some strong players across the board," johnson said.

"You look at the likes of Rona Peters and some of their senior leaders. They’ve definitely got a lot of experience and with experience comes that calm level of footy so I’m really excited to see how the game unfolds, but not going to take any credit away from our young side who will give it to them.

"One hundred per cent I’m expecting a tough, physical contest again, especially with the calibre of players in both sides, whether their names are known or not, there’s definitely some strong hitters on both teams.

"It’s definitely going to be fast paced, even with the five weeks break, for both teams, I think everyone will step up."

Peters is also expecting a physical, fast running, battling game of footy against the new kids on the block, in which they have had close contests across the entire season.

In in added boost to the tumultuous topsy turvy season that's navigated through snap lockdowns, COVID-19 restrictions, border closures, BHP Premiership commitments and the rollercoaster of the NRLW season, the glimmer of light has been the continued support and commitment from Holcim to support the women's game in the South East corner, pleasing QRL South East region manager Adam Vanzanten.

Suzanne Johnson, Pauline Elliott and Rona Peters. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Suzanne Johnson, Pauline Elliott and Rona Peters. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

"QRL South East is thrilled to continue our long running partnership with Holcim," Vanzanten said.

"The continued support from Holcim allows our South East female competitions to grow in professionalism providing a clear pathway for our aspiring female players.

"Holcim is dedicated to providing opportunities for female competition education and will provide funds by way of grants in coaching, sports training, leadership and governance."

In light of their extended commitment to women's rugby league, the SEQW premiership will be renamed the Holcim Cup with both teams to play off for the title with Holcim Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer George Agriogiannis proud to continue their support with the new silverware.

“Holcim is committed to creating development opportunities for women, supporting them to reach for greater heights in their careers and personal lives," Agriogiannis said.

"We are proud to sponsor the Holcim Cup and hope our support enables the next generation of talent to emerge."

The clash between Goodna Eagles and Runaway Bay will kick-off on Saturday, September 4, at 3.40pm at Bishop Park and will be broadcast live and free on QRL.com.au and the QRL Facebook page.

Goodna Eagles v Runaway Bay Seagulls