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BMD Premiership semi-finals preview

Finals time has arrived.

The Mackay Cutters, Norths Devils, Burleigh Bears and Western Clydesdales will fight it out this weekend to qualify for the 2024 BMD Premiership grand final decider.

It's been a thrilling and nail-biting season so far and no doubt this Saturday's matches will continue to leave fans on the edge of their seats.

Here are what the four coaches have to say ahead of the semi-finals.

BMD Premiership semi-finals

Norths Devils v Burleigh Bears

Norths Devils coach Meg Ward: I’m really proud of the girls and all the coaching staff for this season. The effort everyone has put in week in, week out, to get the girls as ready as they can be and the effort the girls have shown the whole season, I couldn't be prouder. Anytime I’ve thrown a curveball with an extra session or something, they all show up and put their hand up. It shows we have a really connected group. They’ve really bought into what I’ve tried to create at Norths. When you have a group that buys in, that’s when special things get created. For this weekend, my message is to not get bored with being in a grind. Burleigh make minimal mistakes and are very composed. If you give them too much, they’ll make the most of it. We may not score until the 60th minute and we have to be okay with that and stay with the grind and keep Burleigh out and complete our sets.

Burleigh Bears coach Scott Cooke: It has been a bit of an inconsistent season for us. I put that down to a few different things – work commitments, rep football, fitting in with training commitments, injury. Two to three weeks ago we played the Cutters and it was the first time we had full contingency besides Tazmin Rapana. The inconsistencies with our halves combinations in particular has been a challenge for us. We’ve had a lot of younger players that are slowly getting a crack now, especially with a lot of injuries to key personnel such as Rilee Jorgensen, Dannii Perese, Sienna Laing. But the squad as a whole, they haven’t given up and always defend well, work hard for one another and this weekend, it’s about finding that consistent level of footy that we haven’t done throughout the season. We’re expecting Norths to be very strong. We feel like they’ve been the form team of the competition, as well as the Cutters. It’s going to be a good game and they’ll be strong. We know they’ll come out ready to rip in so we need to do the same. We need to get our young girls out there and bring that raw talent and aggression and match Norths and complete as many sets as we can.

Broadcast: and Kayo Freebies

Mackay Cutters v Western Clydesdales

Mackay Cutters coach Marco Peters: I’m really proud of our effort this year and our connection as well. We have girls based in a few different places in north Queensland, and for the ones who are based outside of Mackay, every game is an away game. For them to fly to Brisbane is actually easier than the 10-hour drive - five hours each way - from Townsville to Mackay. It’s a really massive and that, for me, is real recognition around that connection and what we’re trying to achieve and their level of commitment. We couldn't have done it without Alicia-Kate Hawke and the Townsville-based support staff. On reflection, that whole commitment, the buy-in and the connection has been outstanding. The key this weekend is definitely sticking to our game plan and being patient. I have plenty of respect for the Clydesdales players and coaches. They’ve had a massive year and they’re a good team that will grind out and hang tough. We have to stick to the game plan and focus to the 70th minute and not give them any opportunities at all.

Western Clydesdales coach Mitch Sargent: It means everything to us as a team, club and region to be playing finals. These girls have brought absolute joy and happiness to our club and region. They’ve inspired so many people and young girls especially to play rugby league and support it. As a coach, it’s more than you could wish and ask for. On field, they’re so resilient and never give up and I honestly believe they’re the hardest-working team, which is what I wanted from the get-go. The key this weekend is to respect who we’re playing. Mackay have been the best all season and are well-deserving minor premiers and will be up for the game. Firstly, respect who you’re playing but believe in why we’re here. It’s not luck. We’ve earned the right and it started in November. I know they’ll go up there as massive underdogs but we’ll show them our spirit.

Broadcast: and Kayo Freebies

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