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Frustration and feud fuels Diehards desire to win

Jack Miers has only one thing on his mind come Saturday's Brisbane Premier A Grade decider.

"I want to win... I don’t go out there to lose or just compete... I’m there to win," the Valleys Diehards hooker said.

Being struck down by the infamous BRL minor premiership curse in 2020 - the phenomenon that continually sees the minor premiers bow out ahead the big dance, the Diehards inflicted that same spell on this year's ladder leaders in last Saturday's preliminary final to book a ticket to this weekend's decider.

"It was tough [against Normanby]... we always knew they were going to be up for it," Miers said.

"But that curse… I don’t know what it is. It got us in 2020. We’re now looking for a bit of redemption here and get back the one that got away."

Adding to the want to make amends for last year's disappointing exit, the royal blue's matchup against rivals West Brisbane Panthers has further ignited the fire in the belly to reign supreme at the end of the 80 minutes.

"It’s definitely extra motivation. There’s always a huge rivalry between us and Wests anyway and knowing we had the ability to win it last year, but just fell short, fuels the desire to take it out this year," the Norths junior said.

"There’s so much that can be said about the history between us, but no matter who’s on the field in the 1-17, it’s going to be a battle for the full 80 to walk away with that trophy.

"There’s a bit of extra rivalry given we’re both Norths Devils feeder clubs, so there’s been plenty of banter through the week, but it’s really good because you’ll probably see two of the better BRL sides on the field this weekend in us and Wests in my opinion.

"We know we’re going to have to play our best football to win the game and I think they know that as well just by talking with them through the week."

Miers in action for Valleys earlier this season. Photo: Vanessa Hafner
Miers in action for Valleys earlier this season. Photo: Vanessa Hafner

Under the guise of new coaching pair Tye Ingebrigsten and Nathan Hughes, the grand finalists began the season in underwhelming fashion - only winning two of their first seven matches - and after a heavy loss to the Pine Rivers Bears in Round 7, an honesty session was called to spark a regeneration to the top.

"It’s been pretty good. All seasons are different. Sometimes you can win every game through the season then fall away in the games that matter like what happened to Normanby," Miers said.

"We probably started a little slow, but we just needed to come together and there was one game there at Pine Rivers mid-way through the season, the boys just sat down and had a chat amongst themselves and asked what they wanted from this season.

"Everyone was putting a bit of banter on us saying we're done, so the boys agreed that we really needed to bond together and put our best foot forward, which we did and now we’re here.

"I think we’ve only lost one game since that day at Pine Rivers and we’re certainly playing better football and playing as a team and that’s what we’re going to need up against Wests."

Accounting for the Panthers by six points in both occasions this season, the Diehards rake is expecting another tough battle in the middle with the mud and bloods littered with talent and experience across the park.

"There’s going to be plenty of tough carries in the middle," Miers said.

"They’ve got some tough forwards and a really good hooker in Callum Gahan and Liam Horne, who I think is going to play lock this week. They’re probably two of their standouts.

"There’s plenty of experience across the park there and they know what they have to do to get the job done so we’re going to have to figure out a way on how to beat them."

It's been a successful season for the 24-year-old, playing nine Intrust Super Cup games in extension to his duties with Valleys Diehards, learning plenty from the experienced stars in the Devils squad.

Miers played nine Intrust Super Cup games for Norths Devils in 2021. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL
Miers played nine Intrust Super Cup games for Norths Devils in 2021. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL

"It’s been a good year on and off the field for me. My football has gone to another level, I feel, this year being able to play half and hooker, but that comes from some of the footballers we have here at Norths," Miers said.

"Jack Ahearn has been massive for me, being a sponge and learning so much off him.

"Also leaning on Danny Levi and Tyrone Roberts – they’ve played NRL and international football. Just learning little tricks and a few different things from them has made my game better and I’ve just really enjoyed my footy."

The clash between both Devils feeder clubs tops a big weekend for the historic Brisbane club, who will also feature in this Sunday's Intrust Super Cup decider against Wynnum Manly.

"I’ve been at Norths since I was 13 or 14, coming through the juniors, just watching it grow year on year has been really good," Miers said.

"Rohan [Smith] has got us in a great spot on the field and Troy [Rovelli] and the Board have got us in a good spot off the field.

"We’re just kicking goals left, right and centre. We also have our challenges, but that’s life I guess. We’ve got a good culture and vibe here. Everyone wants to be better everyday.

"We come to training this week and it doesn’t matter if you’re playing Intrust Super Cup or in the BRL, everyone is coming to training and ripping in.

"I don’t know too many others words I can use to describe the feeling. It's just great."

The 2021 Brisbane Premier A Grade grand final kicks off at 4pm on Saturday, October 9, at BMD Kougari Oval, Wynnum.