All eyes will be on UNE’s Bellevue Rugby ground this weekend as New England Rugby’s best fight it out for the Grand Final glory.
With four grand final games, can St Alberts Rugby Club secure another clean sweep across all grades like that did last year?
“To see the hard work throughout the season, pay off for everyone in the club, but the job still isn’t done yet.” said Hugh McCormack, President St Alberts Rugby Club.
Albies’ will be looking to close out a season where they have been strong but not dominant and will look to forwards Ben Hamparsum at tight head, and Mark Green and Hamish Brown in the second row to establish their advantage.
Coming in as the minor premiers, Albies will host a resurgent Armidale Blues side who are coming of two strong wins.
“It was definitely a physically tough game with some sore bodies afterwards, but no injuries.” said Riley Hopwood, Armidale Blues Coach.
“We are looking really good following some good hit outs this week, and we are heading in with the same side we’ve had in the last two games, hoping to hold the good form we had against Tamworth and the Baa Baas.”
The Blues will be looking to their older boy for experience.
“People like Jack our captain, Peter Cumming and Mick Frost, they’ve seen grand finals and won before, so the older guys who have been there and done it will definitely be looking to keep the guys cool, calm, and collected out on the field.” said Riley.
“It can be very nerve wracking for those in their first grand final.”
Both sides have exciting outside backs who will run at every opportunity, with the Blues’ Jaia Richardson-Fowell and Albies’ Braith Powick both packing serious pace and looking to use it.
Women’s 10: St Alberts College Vs Barbets
The Women’s 10 a side match will see the pre-season favourites meet in the big dance, with Albies’ going head-to-head against Barbarians Barbets.
Albies pipped the Barbarians at the post last time they met in a game thriller, but Barbets have pace to burn and size and skills to worry Albies, led by the effervescent Skye Gordon-Briggs, supported by Elle McNaught and Paige Anderson.
Albies’ experienced Tahlia “Tink” Morgan, Clare Harpley, and the solid Sally Neilson will rise to the challenge in what will be a grand final showdown.
In the other grades, Glen Innes Elks will battle it out against Albies in second grade, having dispatched Tamworth Magpies last week for a shot at the title.
Glen have shown they have the pace, size, and skill and will benefit from having a full bench of fresh players. If they can secure enough ball, they will push Albies to the limits, with speedsters Harry Brown, and Michael and Jack miller ones to watch.
Albies have veteran Mick McCarthy at the coaching helm and will be seeking to match the pace and skill out wide, utilising Benny Childes, Lachie Munday and the pace of Chris Court to break through.
Third Grade sees the two form teams of the competition meet for final bragging rights, with Tamworth Magpies up against Albies.
Michael Pearce will be sure to try and outmuscle the students for the Maggies, before unleashing the skill and enterprise of his outside backs, while retiring veterans Ben Donohue and Ollie Murphy will want to go out on a high.
Plenty of points will be won across all four grades, so get down to Bellevue Rugby ground this Saturday.
First Grade: St Alberts College Vs Armidale Blues @3:15pm
Women’s 10s: St Alberts College Vs Barbarians Barbets @1:45pm
Second Grade: St Alberts College Vs Glen Innes Elks @ 12.10pm
Third Grade: St Alberts College Vs Tamworth Magpies @ 10:40am
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