Coming from fifth place, the Hills District Bulls endured three-weeks of intense sudden-death football to book their first-ever Sydney Shield grand final appearance against the minor premiers, Wentworthville Magpies this Sunday at Pirtek Stadium.
The minor premiers Magpies return to the decider, motivated to make amends for their 2013 grand final loss and add to their 2012 Sydney Shield triumph.
Hills are determined to finish their Cinderella run through the finals, aiming for one last major scalp this week when they take on the competition favourites.
Hills coach Paul Griffin knows his team is up against the odds this weekend.
“There’s definitely a lot of confidence within the playing and coaching group. We’ve got players playing busted and are playing the form team. Hopefully we can give them a run for their money,” Griffin said.
Hills will be heading into the Grand Final as massive underdogs. However, 32-18 winners of their only regular season meeting against Wentworthville, Griffin is confident his side has what it takes.
“Underdog is a title we’ve been wearing for the last number of weeks. We have quality players, with a few experienced and a few younger blokes. We’ll overcome whatever hits us,” Griffin explained.
In the other corner is a well-rested and confident Wentworthville side who defeated a lacklustre Windsor 68-8 to qualify for the Grand Final.
Wenty are one of the better sides in finding the chalk, scoring an average of 42 points per game in their last six appearances.
Magpies coach Alex Chan explains his side’s chances this weekend: “Coming off the back of last week’s win there’s a lot of confidence,” Chan said.
“The regular season itself was a different comp. Now we’re in the final, everything changes. We’ll need to bring our A-game.”
Chan knows that Hills won’t be a walkover and is concerned that their road to the final has prepared them well.
“Hills have gone through the long road to get where they are. They are very battle hardened and have a lot of experience in their team. We are going to need to raise it a couple of notches,” Chan explained.
This week’s local derby will bring flocks of supporters from both sides. The Sydney Shield kicks off NSWRL Grand Final day at 11.40, and will also be streamed live via nswrl.com.au. Click here for the live stream.
The NSWRL Grand Final day, held at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday, September 27, is the biggest day on the VB NSW Cup, Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield calendars and the only live rugby league in Sydney that weekend – and adult tickets are just $10, with kids under 12 free! With face painting, live music and a carnival-like atmosphere, it’s the perfect day out for young and old.Get your tickets here.