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Junior statewide competitions grand final previews

Grand final day has arrived for the Harvey Noman Under 19s and Cyril Connell Cup.

With both premiership deciders to be played as part of a footy extravaganza at Totally Workwear Stadium on Saturday, April 13 - following on from the two Queensland Under 17 City v Country clashes - four teams from the Queensland Rugby League's statewide competitions will chase their piece of history.

In the Cyril Connell Cup, the Redcliffe Dolphins will take on the Townsville Blackhawks while in the Harvey Norman Under 19s the Brisbane Tigers will meet the Mackay Cutters.

Here are the coaches' thoughts ahead of this weekend's grand finals.

Harvey Norman Under 19

Brisbane Tigers v Mackay Cutters

Brisbane Tigers coach Damien Pratt: "What impressed me most about our semi-final win was the spirit of which the girls played in. They were really up for the contest and really challenged themselves. We were very focused on what we needed to do and executed the way we wanted to. That helped and now we're playing in the grand final. At our first training on Tuesday night, we spoke about how we’ve been progressing over the last six weeks. I really want to see two halves of football the same as one another. We’ve been playing one good half and one okay half so I want to have a complete game to finish our season off. We don’t know what to really expect from Mackay but from the footage I’ve seen, they’re tough, they have a good kicking game and they’ll come down here wanting to win, for sure. It's the first ever Harvey Norman Under 19 grand final and we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago when we knew we were playing in the semi-finals. It’s been the goal for all of us to look at and it would be an absolute honour for the club, the girls and everyone that’s been involved in this journey for the last five to six months to win the premiership. To do it at home would be fantastic as well."

Mackay Cutters coach Matt Sanders: "The conditions certainly weren’t ideal in last week's semi-final and we probably started pretty poorly and the Western Clydesdales jumped out to an early lead. But the girls didn’t panic, didn’t play out of character, and by halftime we had the lead. By no means was it comfortable but we did enough to win the game. It pleased me being able to win when we weren't at our best. Moving into this week, we did touch on the occasion of the grand final on Tuesday night. Not everyone gets to play in a state final and certainly not the very first state final for that competition. The girls are keen on the idea of getting that piece of history. We've looked at Brisbane and what they bring to the table. They have very good strengths but we’ve found some areas to focus on. We’re confident we can get out there and execute our game plan and definitely give it a real good crack this weekend. For us as a club, we’re a regional club so with that comes a lot of commitment. We’ve got players who travel 150km just to get to training. They love football, they’re so committed, and the way this club and town has really got behind us this last week or so, I know how much it would mean to the club and the girls. They give up so much of their time to be at training. If we were able to get it done, it would be such a great reward for their commitment and love of the game."

Cyril Connell Cup

Redcliffe Dolphins v Townsville Blackhawks

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Larry Dickson: "I don’t think we were great in the first half of our semi-final last week. I think we started well but went to sleep. But what impressed myself and the rest of the coaching staff was our resilience in the second half. We completed at nearly 92 per cent and that’s what got us home. Completions and discipline will be our focus again ahead of this Saturday. The Blackhawks are a very good footy side, a very disciplined footy side. They’re coming in injury-free. We’re not quite that lucky but I’ve watched a few of their games and they’re just dangerous all across the park. They play a different style of football to what we play down here. But we’re not going to change for anyone and we haven’t all year. We’re going to play the football that’s got us here. This weekend would be pretty big for the boys. It’s all about the team, it’s all about those boys out there playing and those boys that have represented that jersey this year. It would be big for them and something they will carry forever."

Townsville Blackhawks coach Nathan Norford: "What I liked about our semi-final performance was us responding to a game plan and executing that and then following through with some of their strengths. That was obviously really impressive but we know there’s a next level to go and they boys will have to improve again to beat Redcliffe. The major factor for us is game management and understanding the flow of a game and what’s needed when. We need to make sure we match the Dolphins physically. They’ve had some very close games, some very physical games and we need to match that. They’re a well-drilled side with quality in their spine. They take smart decisions when they need it. We’ll need our halves to stand up as well. They have arguably one of the best locks in the competition, who we’ll have to shut down, and quality forwards and outside backs. They have quality across the whole park. When it comes to the Cyril Connell Cup, it's been uplifting to see finals back again. It gives us an opportunity for kids in country areas to play against the high quality of the city areas and see the standard they set that we make sure we’re maintaining. They have the opportunity to test themselves against the best players in the state."

In the representative matches, the Queensland Under 17 City v Country girls match will kick off at 11.30am followed by the boys at 12.45pm.

Catch all the grand final action for Harvey Norman Under 19 and Cyril Connell Cup live and free by subscribing to

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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