Junior decider set to be the best ever
HOCKEY: Royals Jets will be shooting for back-to-back Grafton Hockey Association Under-16s premierships, but it will be far from easy for the side as they go up against a dominant Sailors Bean Scene.
While it is a replay of last year's Under-16s decider at the Clarence Valley Regional Hockey Complex, the tables have been turned this season, with the defending premiers going in as underdogs.
But that is not a worry for co-coach Caleb Blanchard after the side pulled off a comfortable preliminary final win over Bears this week.
"The guys had a really good training run earlier in the week, and an even better win, so we just want to keep that momentum going into the big one,” Blanchard said.
"While there is a few fresh faces in the team this season, myself included, we still have the same core group who know what it takes to win it all.”
The Royals side has been anchored by State representatives and regular senior first grade players Laura Harley, Rhys Cropper and Jake Lambeth this season.
The trio have been willing to share their knowledge, and help develop the young players rising through the ranks around them.
But Sailors Bean Scene have State representatives of their own in Harry Watts, Elliott Speed, Sherryn Thompson and Ashleigh Ensbey.
Add to that mix the club's brick wall in goals Cody Hinterholzl, and it is not hard to see why the Sailors outfit only lost one game all season.
With momentum on their side the word from coach Darryl Clark this week has been about keeping relaxed.
"If these guys just go out and play their natural game, they will be hard to stop,” he said.
"It is mostly the same side as last year, and I know a few still feel the pain of that loss, so they will be keen to reverse that.
"But they just need to keep cool heads and play their style. There is a lot of talent in this match, on both sides.
"This could potentially be the best grand final of both weekends.”
GRAND FINAL DAY SCHEDULE
Brent Livermore Field
9.30am Div 3 Girls
SGPS Cubs v GPS Rainbows
10.30am Div 2 Girls
Sailors Lightning v Sailors Thunder
11.45am U11's Boys
Royals Rockers v Sailors Kookaburra
1pm Div 1 Girls
Sailors ESPresso v GPS
2.15pm U13's Boys
Sailors Allstars v Royals Rangers
3.30pm U16's Boys
Sailors Bean Scene Cafe v Royals Jets