Young out for repeat dose in Sullivan Cup

READY TO FIRE: Michael Downer, Ben Baker, Duke Maloney and Blake Coombes are looking to help Young to back-to-back premierships in the Sullivan Cup when they tackle Gundagai on Sunday.
READY TO FIRE: Michael Downer, Ben Baker, Duke Maloney and Blake Coombes are looking to help Young to back-to-back premierships in the Sullivan Cup when they tackle Gundagai on Sunday.

Twelve months ago all the pressure was on Young to complete their undefeated season with a premiership.

Now the Sullivan Cup side is looking to go back-to-back when they take on Gundagai at Equex Centre on Sunday.

The Cherrypickers finished the season as minor premiers, but have had more obstacles to overcome this season.

They've lost twice and have also been held to a draw by the Tigers.

Coach Tom Bush believes it's made the side so accustomed to success that much better heading into the grand final.

"They know what they are in for," Bush said.

"Some of the boys from last year's 16s had it all their own way and it's maybe been a little bit of a shock having some tight games, but I think they're coming into some form at the right time of the year.

"They know it will be a tough game but they are definitely prepared for it and are up to it."

Young need a late field goal from halfback Ethan Newham to take the narrowest of wins over Brothers in the major semi-final.

However they aren't facing the only side who have beaten them this season, instead it's a young Tigers outfit looking to come from third to take their crown.

Young are looking to repeat last year's success in the Sullivan Cup.

Young are looking to repeat last year's success in the Sullivan Cup.

Bush is very wary of Gundagai's forward pack, especially Bryce Magnone up front with his strong offloading game.

However he is thrilled with the fire power he possess.

He believes the clash of the two forward packs will go a long way to determining the victor.

"We've got some very talented players, and some very big boys, and that will be where the game will be won," Bush said.

"I'm lucky to have the players that I've got."

Bush is also looking for strong kicking games from their halves to help build pressure on the big day.

"It's not about the fancy stuff, but the tough work and kicking to corners to make them come out of their own half," he said.

"That is what we're aiming to do."

Young haven't had a lot of football in the last month and the grand final will just be their second game in five weeks.

Gundagai on the other hand have come through three finals clashes, including a 20-18 win Brothers last week, but Bush has been pleased with how the side has things up at training to compensate for the lack of game time.

"They've really stepped it up at training over the last few weeks to pick up the intensity," he said.

"They've really reacted.

"We've had a few weeks off in between games and that could quite easily have got them distracted but it has been good."

Kick-off is at 9.30am on Sunday at Wagga's Equex Centre.

Young Cherrypickers:

  • 1 Thomas McIllhatton, 2 Sid Sell, 3 Duke Maloney, 4 Steele Rudd, 5 Michael Downer, 6 Charlie Corcoran, 7 Ethan Newham, 8 Mitch Prest, 9 Ben Baker (c), 10 Blake Coombes, 11 Nick Jenkins, 12 Josh Coade, 13 Harry Fitzpatrick. 14 Johnny Douglas, 15 Tyler Hurcum, 16 Riley Brownlie, 17 Tom Fletcher, 18 Caleb Coombes, 19 Declan Cashel, 20 Jesse Simpson