SURGING FORWARD: Shades of George Burgess in the running style of Austin Cooper during his three-try grand final haul for South Grafton Rebels Under-18s.
SURGING FORWARD: Shades of George Burgess in the running style of Austin Cooper during his three-try grand final haul for South Grafton Rebels Under-18s.

Rivals set to link up in Brisbane

THEY celebrated a premiership together and will soon be flatmates as they pursue their dreams in Brisbane.

There has been a lot in common for the brilliant seasons of rugby league players Austin Cooper and Luke Roberts.

But come 7.30pm this Wednesday at Frank McGuren Field they'll go toe to toe as opposing captains in The Daily Examiner Shield Open Rugby League final.

Both Cooper (South Grafton High) and Roberts (Maclean High) played a leading hand for their respective schools in reaching the University Shield round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

In Group 2 Rugby League both were instrumental in South Grafton Rebels' first ever Under-18 premiership.

During the school holidays the pair drove up to Brisbane where they accepted offers with Queensland Cup club Wynnum-Manly Seagulls.

Now, in their final schoolboy outing on the eve of their Year 12 exams, the final achievement to tick off the list awaits just one.

"It's the last one," Cooper said. "I will probably be opposite Luke in the centres as well. His little cousin Daine Laurie will be on the wing and I have my little brother Elliott outside me, so it should be good."

South Grafton Lions will be looking to defend its title. But Roberts is just as keen to go out a winner for the Maclean Bats.

"I'm keen for the game on Wednesday," Roberts said.

"That's my last game then I'm going to Wynnum."

Preseason training for the duo starts on November 17. Roberts recognised the magnitude of the move.

"It's my chance to get out of Yamba," he said. "I've been looking for this opportunity for a long time and it wouldn't have come if I didn't meet the right people.

"I have to thank my auntie and uncle Carrie and Joseph Walker. They helped me become the person I am today and achieve big things in life."