Torrid encounters tipped for final
THE business end of the local rugby league season is here.
Sunday will see the six semi-finals played this weekend at Marley Brown Oval.
Games start at 10am with the under-20s and the last game of the day at 5.30pm will see arch rivals Wallabys and Brothers in A Grade battle it out for a direct path into the grand final.
Wallabys coach Danny McAllister and Brothers coach Mark Graham are expecting a hard-fought contest between two pretty even sides.
McAllister, in his first year as Wallabys coach, has been impressed with the attitude shown around the club during the season.
“This is the time of year when you want to be playing and everyone comes alive,” McAllister said.
McAllister said the team was experienced in finals footy, and the never-say-die attitude on the field would serve them well.
“For someone knew coming into the club, and I’m really proud to be involved with Wallabys,” he said.
Graham is expecting a hard series but said everyone would be keyed up for it, especially the opening match.
“She’s on for 80 minutes, it’s not like a boxing match where you can deliver a knockout blow and our games have gone down to the wire,” he said.
Injuries have come at the wrong time of the year for Brothers, and captain David Ahern retired from the game during the week, unable to get over a knee injury.
“We’ll miss him, he’s been fantastic around the club,” Graham said.
Gladstone Rugby League president Glenn Butcher said the expectation was for a massive crowd at for the semi-finals.
Most Gladstone clubs are represented, and patrons will welcome the return of an icon - the much-revered Pig Pen.
“This will only add to the finals atmosphere,” Butcher said.
Butcher said the 2009 finals series saw thousands file through the Marley Brown gates, and the hope was to exceed the number.
Admission is $6 adults and $3 pensioners and high school students. Canteen and bar facilities will be operating on the day.