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The decider: Final say from the Cup captains

Hostplus Cup grand final day is here. 

The stage is set, both teams want the win. Who will come out on top?

Burleigh Bears captain Sami Sauiluma and Brisbane Tigers captain Ryley Jacks share their thoughts ahead of what is expected to be a huge clash at Kayo Stadium. 

Burleigh Bears

Sami Sauiluma

Guy Hamilton and Sami Sauiluma. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Guy Hamilton and Sami Sauiluma. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

"I think this grand final probably means different things to different players. A lot of the young boys are pretty excited… it’s their first taste of a grand final. And then there's the older boys who have been there and done that before and we really need them to lead the way. As a whole though, we're looking forward to it and it's a good reward for a good year that we've had. We pride ourselves on our defence… I think if we can really get that right, our strike around the field speaks for itself. We’ve got Guy Hamilton who is probably the in-form half at the moment and then we've got Tyrone Roberts who brings so much experience. I think our attack takes care of itself, but our defence, that’s what we’ve focused on. I think going against the Tigers, similar to last week, we need to start well. The Tigers are very similar to us in that they’ve got strike all over the field. We’re probably looking to contain that as much as we can and I feel like if we can do that, and take care of their back five as well, we’ll go a long way to sealing it. I’d back our team against anyone. For me, it has been a big year with my twins coming very prematurely at 28 weeks… it’s been a rough journey for myself and my wife. She's done it pretty tough and we're sort of just coming out of that at the moment, so to win on grand final day would be the cream on top for us. A big, really good finish to what has been a pretty tough year off the field would be good. This group is hard to put into words. We’ve been together for a few years now and next year, with us splitting away from the Gold Coast Titans, this is the last ride we’ll all have together. I’ll be making sure it’s one we all remember because this might be the last time we get to play with each other. There’s a lot of emotion in it, so I’m looking forward to it."

Brisbane Tigers

Ryley Jacks

Ryley Jacks and Solomona Faataape. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Ryley Jacks and Solomona Faataape. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

"Being in the grand final is obviously exciting. I've done it before but not as a captain. I think it’s going to mean so much more for me, leading the team out for a grand final. Being captain just makes it that little bit more special. This is my junior club… I played my first game here when I was six so it does mean a lot, this club, to me and my family as well. I’m just hoping that we can go out there and just keep our momentum going. We’ve won the last eight out of nine games so there’s a bit of momentum there. We just want to keep that going and not change anything because it's a grand final. It’s doing exactly what we've done for those last nine weeks and that's mainly our defence. I think our defence has been awesome… when you’ve got good defence and momentum, you’re a pretty hard team to beat. We’ll be relying on that and hopefully that will get us over the line. Our back five have been really good all year… Corey Thompson, George Jennings, Max Lehmann, Kane Bradley and Solomona Faataape. I think our centre Sol has been unreal. I think if those guys do their jobs, we’ll be in a good spot. And games are won in the middle… our forward pack have stepped up all year and I expect they will do the exact same thing Sunday. Burleigh obviously have some great players all across the field… their fullback is lightning, they have experience in their halves… both very experienced with great kicking games. Ultimately though, it’ll come down to doing well in the game, on game day. We’ve got a squad that can do it and we know it too. I think the belief is there right through this group… that's what you need at this time of the year. We believe we can do it, we believe we’re going to do it."

To snap up your seats to the 2023 Hostplus Cup and Hastings Deering Colts grand finals, click here.

For more information on grand final day, click here.

The Hostplus Cup grand final will be shown live on Fox League and Kayo Freebies from 5pm.

The game will also be live on SENQ radio from 4pm.

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