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Despite 22 years separating the last time Canberra Royals won the John I Dent Cup, coach Russell Ingram is confident his side can overcome a long season and several injury concerns to claim their first premiership since 1991.
The club will enter Saturday’s grand final against Tuggeranong in good form after defeating a spirited Queanbeyan Whites outfit last weekend.
But due to the physicality of the match, Ingram is still waiting to hear if several injured players will take the field.
“Last week was a very tough game even before we lost a few players, so obviously we still have a few boys under a injury cloud at the moment,” Ingram said.
“It’s been a tough road and we have had a long season, with a lot of injuries but that has probably worked in our benefit now because we have been able to expose a lot of boys to first grade.
“We are not afraid to make a call on a footballer to take the field.”
Saturday’s match will be the first time Royals has played in a grand final since 2002 and will face a Vikings outfit which has been in impressive form all season, winning 14 out of their 16 games to take out the minor premiership.
But while Ingram expects another daunting challenge, he is hopeful that his side can play confident rugby and squeeze out the win.
“The way to beat a side like Vikings, is to play 80 minutes of footy and be totally focussed on what your doing,” Ingram said.
There will be periods of tight football and there will be open periods where the ball will move about, I have no doubt.
“I wouldn’t imagine that’s it’s going to be a game of 10 man rugby, I think you will see the width of the paddock used on the weekend, and hopefully we can take advantage of that and get the win.”
Ingram’s right hand man and long serving captain Craig McMahon is also looking forward to the challenge of breaking the clubs 22 year premiership drought.
The playmaker has been a stand out for Royals this year, finishing fourth overall on the competition’s top point scorer table, helping his side book their place in the final.
“It’s a big achievement for all of us and we are really excited and looking forward to it,” McMahon said.
"There’s a few blokes that have been around for a while and have looked forward to this for a very long time.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for us and we are pretty keen to make the most of it.”
The Canberra Royals will face the Tuggeranong Vikings this Saturday in the 2013 John I Dent Cup grand final at Viking Park, with kick off at 3.15pm.