9/7/2012

Wests and Vikings prepare for ACT showdown


Western Districts and Tuggeranong captains and coaches have given their final thoughts on Saturday’s Grand Final, with both sides hinting they are high on confidence.

As the current title holders, Tuggeranong have run hot throughout the 2012 season dropping just one game on their way to Saturday’s season decider.

Their narrow win over Wests two weeks ago will give them plenty to think about with last year’s runners up intent on giving the title a massive shake.

In a boost for Wests, Wallabies inside-centre Pat McCabe has been drafted into the 22-man squad for Grand Final day and will play for just over half an hour.

Tuggeranong have managed to name consistent teams all season and Saturday will be no different, with the competition’s best player Pat Leafa set for a big game in the Viking’s front row.

Tuggeranong Viking’s coach Dan McKellar said he was confident heading into Saturday’s clash with Wests, but knew the Lions would present a massive challenge if they were to claim the title.

“We’ve had a good couple of weeks, it’s always nice to have a break and we enjoyed watching that preliminary final last week, we’re in a good spot and can’t really complain,” McKellar said.

“Wests were good last week, they were challenged by Queanbeyan but most teams are. At 17-0 they could have rolled over but they didn’t and they did enough to get a spot in the grand final.

“There are some big units going around this weekend but like every game of football, we’ll see who dominates the set piece and comes away with the title.”

Skipper Beau Mokotupu was also keen to focus on his own side’s strengths rather than get drawn into what Wests were doing with their preparations. Having lifted the John I Dent Cup in 2011, Mokotupu knows what it takes to get his side on top and keep it there.

Wests coach Craig Robberds was equally excited about the weekend. He said while the win against Queanbeyan was encouraging there was plenty of work to get through if his side was to walk away champions on Saturday evening.

“They’ve set the benchmark for the last two years, they’ve lost one game of their last 25 so they deserve to be on top of the ladder,” Robberds said.

“In saying that, we’re really happy with the form we’ve come into over the last month and the way we’ve been performing on the field and at training.

“I think the best thing that’s happened to us this season was copping a flogging from Gungahlin just over a month ago. Since then we’ve had a look at ourselves and how we want to play and adjusted things accordingly.”

The pain of last year’s 44-18 Grand Final demolition at the hands of the Vikings is still raw with Wests players and fans. But despite the inevitable feeling the two sides have between each other, Wests skipper Aaron McInnes said his side will be playing its own game rather than focusing on the past.

“Everyone’s beatable, you don’t get too many chances to play in them and Grand Finals aren’t meant to be won and lost by 40 or 50 points, they are always close,” McInnes said.

“The talk isn’t about revenge or retribution or anything like that. This is 2012, it’s a new challenge for us. The talk has been focussed on enjoying the week and making the most of this opportunity because it may never come around again.”

1st grade: Tuggeranong vs. Wests
Kick off – 3.15pm
Venue – Viking Park 1

2nd grade:  Queanbeyan vs. Wests
Kick off – 1.35pm
Venue – Viking Park 1

Colts: Tuggeranong vs. Royals
Kick off – 11.55am
Venue – Viking Park 1

3rd Grade: Queanbeyan vs. Royals
Kick off – 11.50am
Venue – Viking Park 2

4th Grade: Wests vs. Tuggeranong
Kick off – 10.15am
Venue – Viking Park 2

Womens:  Queanbeyan vs. Royals
Kick off – 1.25pm
Venue – Viking Park 2