After a sensational season on the field, it all comes down to this Saturday for Glen Buffolin’s Illawarra South Coast Dragons.
Following last weekend’s thrilling 18-14 extra-time victory against the Newcastle Rebels in the under 16s CRL Country Championships semi-final, all eyes are firmly set on the Andrew Johns Cup decider in Mudgee.
“Last weekend, we were going well, being up 14-4, but some lapses in defence cost us and brought Newcastle back into the game,” Buffolin said.
“Defence has been one of our strong points this season, so it was a little disappointing to have Newcastle come back into the match that way.
“But to the boys credit, they stood up when it counted most and got back to doing things that have made us so successful this season.”
While Buffolin acknowledges that Joshua Turla, Jye Patterson and Giovanni Nasseu have been standouts, every single players deserves recognition for helping the team get to the final.
“Each game, we try and get everyone to play up to a rating of seven out of 10,” he said.
“Obviously, we know some weeks, some people might have an off week but if that’s the case, the guys each side of that player step up and make up the difference – which is why this group is so special.”
The Dragons opponents at the Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex from 12pm, the Western Rams, got the better of Buffolin’s troops in the earlier meeting this season, but the coach is going to use that 30-26 loss to his side’s advantage.
“The loss earlier in the season went down to the last minute and could have gone either way,” he said.
“This time around, we will know what to expect from them.
“To ensure we win though, we must improve the way we play the game from last week – we must get to our sets, complete well and play fatigue football to the best of our ability.
“If we were to win on Saturday, it would be just reward for all the boys, who have worked hard and challenged each other every single session.