Cullen Focused On State Championship Chance
Burleigh Bears five-eighth Cameron Cullen has his eyes firmly set on Sunday's NRL State Championship showdown with the Illawarra Cutters on NRL grand final day.
Cullen helped book his side's place in the prestigious match by putting in a man-of-the-match performance that saw the Bears defeat the Redcliffe Dolphins 26-16 in the Intrust Super Cup grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
It was Burleigh's first Queensland Cup title since 2004, and they will now fly to Sydney to take part in the match that was only introduced in 2014.
It means this year will be the third instalment, with Queensland teams winning in both previous encounters back in 2014 and 2015.
The pressure is now on the Bears to make it three from three by emulating the efforts of both the Northern Pride (2014 champions) and the Ipswich Jets (2015 champions).
Cullen could hardly contain his excitement when he realised he would be playing on NRL grand final day, telling NRL.com that he cannot wait to run out onto ANZ Stadium with his Burleigh teammates.
"How good will it be! I can't believe it," Cullen said.
"I didn't really think about it too much until one of my mates who goes for the Sharks said he was going down. I then realised that if we won then I'd be playing on the same day.
"What a great opportunity for all the Burleigh boys to get out there on grand final day. They are all going to be stoked."
Although still celebrating their Queensland Cup win, the Bears will get back into training later this week and are serious about claiming the title.
Cullen said he had already spoken to members of last year's victorious Ipswich Jets team about what to expect in Sydney.
"We'll still train hard this week. I've spoken to the Ipswich boys who did the same thing last year and that's helped me," he said.
"We have to celebrate what we've achieved in winning the Intrust Super Cup so we'll party hard, but after the celebrations we will focus on Sunday.
"I know the mentality of this team. Our whole group will want to win this next game so we'll prepare as best we can for it."
Sunday's State Championship match will be Cullen's last in a Bears jersey before he heads to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles for the 2017 NRL season.
A win would cap off a stellar year in which he has played five games of NRL for the Gold Coast Titans and represented his state, Queensland, in the annual Residents clash.
Despite all these personal achievements, Sunday's grand final win has set a new career highlight for the 23-year-old Tweed Coast junior.
"This is the top as far as my career highlights go. To win a premiership is so special," he said.
"It's such a great feeling to play the whole year with the same bunch of lads and then finish it off with a premiership. I can't explain how I feel.
"Playing NRL this year was obviously a highlight, but winning the competition with all my mates is just crazy."
This article first appeared NRL.com