Eighty minutes from glory
Only 80 minutes and a very tough and determined Guyra outfit sit between the Glen Innes Magpies and a third first grade premiership in five years.
When the Magpies run out on Sunday it will be their third straight appearance in the Group 19 decider and fourth since 2008, only missing out in 2009.
A massive crowd is expected a Mead Park to cheer their local boys on with gates opening at 9am and the first game underway an hour later with Tingha and Guyra going head to head in league-tag.
The Magpie juniors will also be vying for a major premiership on Sunday when they go up against Armidale.
While Tingha and the Moree Boomerangs clash in what will be a highly anticipated reserve grade fixture.
Glen Innes and Guyra round up the grand final matches to ensure all onlookers will see four tremendous games of rugby league.
Guyra have been the benchmark in the top grade for much of the season, but with the Magpies winning the last two matches, including the major semi-final, they will go into the decider as favourites, but only just.
The Magpies earned the right to host the grand final after securing a 29-18 win in Guyra two weekends ago.
It was a physical encounter that left both sides bruised and battered, but Guyra rebounded to score a 42-22 win over the Moree Boomerangs to earn a rematch against the Magpies in the grand final.
Glen Innes came away from the major semi-final with a number of injury concerns but the majority of those players have been passed fit and will suit up on Sunday.
Try scoring centre, Joel Jackson remains in doubt with a hamstring injury, while Daniel Sharman is out of the match with illness as is fullback Ross Lewis with a broken wrist.
On a more positive note, Magpie skipper Jake Key has returned to training after suffering a knee injury in June and looks likely to take his place on Sunday, likely from the bench. Utility Matt Crowhurst is also recovering well from an ankle injury and is set to play.
The Magpies will have to combat a massive Guyra forward pack if they are to lift the trophy on Sunday afternoon.
Glen will need to control the ruck and slow down the giant Guyra forwards throughout the match to ensure the skilled Guyra backs don’t get quick ball.
Although, the Magpies have a pretty handy forward pack themselves, who will look to dominate Guyra on the fringes.
Jeff Moate, Adam Shaw, Mone Loketi, Jared Willis and Brett Watts will look to set a solid platform for the Magpie backs to lay on the points.
Hooker Jamie Watts will be one of the players earmarked by Guyra.
Group 19s leading try scorer is always dangerous from dummy half and can win a game by himself on his day.
Halves Nick Say and Sam Key will lead the side around the park and look to feed the ball onto attacking weapons Jay Hampson and Brett Stapleton out wide.
Magpie coach Dale Keegan is expecting a fired up Guyra outfit.
“It’s going to be a very tough day at the office for both sides,” he said.
“It’s going to be a good old fashioned arm wrestle in the middle with both sides having good forward packs.”
Keegan said injuries may also be a factor in the outcome.
“Both teams have a number of injuries and the result will show who has the better depth in their club,” he said.
“We will have to execute and control their big men well to win the match.”
Keegan said a large home crowd could help get the Magpies over the line.
“This is our third straight grand final appearance,” he said.
“I’m encouraging the people of Glen Innes to come to Mead Park and support their team.”
The first grade fixture is expected to kick off at 2.30pm.
First grade squad for Sunday’s Group 19 grand final
Jeff Moate will look to lead from the front on Sunday.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.