GAME ON: Stage set for grand final blockbuster
IT WILL be a battle of youth versus experience in Saturday night’s CQ Premier League grand final.
Bluebirds United will take on reigning premiers Frenchville at 7pm at Rockhampton’s Ryan Park.
Bluebirds are out to win the Wesley Hall Cup for the first time in 29 years.
By contrast, Frenchville are looking to claim the coveted trophy for the sixth time in eight years.
No member of the young Bluebirds outfit has won a premiership while two Frenchville players - Robbie Day and Paul Jackson – are gunning for their sixth.
Whichever way you look at it, the best two teams of the 2020 season are in the decider and it promises to be a cracking contest.
They met four times this year and finished with two wins apiece.
Both coaches are excited for Saturday’s showdown and know their players are counting down to kick-off.
Frenchville coach Mat Wust said his troops were “keen and ready to go”.
They’ve had the luxury of a week off after they beat Bluebirds 5-3 in an extra-time thriller in the first semi-final.
“We want to start like we did in that semi-final, with that high-intensity, high-tempo football and see if they can match it with us,” Wust said.
“The key for us is to play our style of football and to dictate the state of play.”
Frenchville’s inspirational skipper Jordan Miller would be keen for a repeat of his semi-final performance.
The star striker landed four goals in that game and will be vital to his team’s chances on Saturday.
But Wust maintains it will take a complete team performance to get the result.
“Everyone’s important, there’s no one key player in our team. That’s just the way we play, we try to play as a team and not as individuals,” he said.
“We need everyone pulling together. If everyone does what they’re meant to do, and everyone works hard for each other I have faith the team will get what we need.”
Bluebirds head into the final with their tails up after their seven-goal demolition of Central last week.
Coach Gary Skinner appreciates Frenchville are a grand final force, but he has every confidence his side can get the job done.
“We’ll want to start well; we’ll be looking to get into our groove early and control the tempo of the game,” he said.
“Our back four have got to be tight and not give them any room to move, our midfield have got to win the ball and dominate the centre of the park and get good service to our front runners and our frontrunners have got to take their chances.
“If it all clicks together like it did last week, then we’re in with a big show.”
Strikers Liam Mclean and Yianni Kondilis and midfielder Blake Penfold, who bagged a hat-trick last week, are sure to have a big influence on the result.
But like Wust, Skinner maintains every Bluebirds player on the field will have to do their job.
“Frenchville are strong everywhere, so everyone’s got to bring their A-game on Saturday night,” he said.
“They are definitely a seasoned grand final team but on the day it’s anyone’s game.
“I’m confident in the boys. They’ve worked hard all year and they’ve really stepped up.
“They deserve to be where they are and hopefully they can get the big prize.”
CQ Premier League grand finals
5pm Saturday: Division 2, Frenchville v Bluebirds United, Ryan Park, Rockhampton
7pm Saturday: Division 1, Frenchville v Bluebirds United, Ryan Park, Rockhampton