CSU Yellow will be out to rubber-stamp a dominant Centennial Coal Cup season when they host Blackheath in this afternoon’s grand final.
In a rare opportunity, Diggings Oval will play host to the biggest match of the season for the second-tier competition. Yellow will look to back up the title won by CSU Blue at Carrington Park in 2012.
The club also had a chance to win a premiership last year with CSU Yellow, but they went down to the Kandos juggernaut in an entertaining grand final.
Much as they did two weeks ago against the Blackcats in the 2014 major semi-final, CSU Yellow captain-coach Brad Dewar wants to see his players absorbing the pressure in the middle of the field today.
Yellow demonstrated in that semi-final – a 34-16 win – that if they can tame the bigger Blackheath pack, they have the speed and finesse in the back line to put points on the board.
And the Mungoes may have a little extra strike power to add to the mix this time around, with Dewar a chance to return to the halfback role after missing the semi-final win.
“I had to pull out just before the game two weeks ago with a finger injury. I’m 50-50 at this stage, but the specialist said there’s a chance I can lose the end of my finger, still so it is a tough one to weigh up,” Dewar said.
“If I don’t play we’ll go back to the option we used in the major semi with Joe Dunlop at halfback and Jacob Parslow as a running five-eighth.
“We get Evan Jones back in the front row from the side that took on Blackheath before, we’re basically at full strength.”
Blackheath are the lone side to defeat the Mungoes Yellow side this season and can’t be underestimated. They played themselves back into form courtesy of an easy preliminary final win over CSU Blue last Saturday.
Blackheath hooker Brad Jervis is among their most dangerous players, while the halves pairing of Matt Ranse and Greg Nankervis have had no trouble finding points for their side throughout the competition.
However, Dewar said that he wants his side to back themselves no matter what and to play the same style of football that has taken them this far, regardless of what the Blackcats throw at them.
“They played well against Blue, it was a grinding sort of game in the first half, but they came out and scored a couple of quick tries in the second and looked good, Blue couldn’t really counteract it,” Dewar said.
“We have to keep our style though. They have some strike weapons with Ranse at five-eighth and their props [Ryan Evans and Ryan Jervis] get good quick play the balls away, but I’m confident we can handle them.
“We have some game breakers in our side, Terrence Lindsay is the obvious one, he’s just a naturally gifted fullback, but Rob McMahon at prop is fast and athletic, and Brad Wright at centre played out of his skin in the major semi.”
Like all university sides, playing a grand final means the last match together for many of the Mungoes. It is something the coach wants his men to keep in mind throughout the game and the build-up to it.
“These guys will realistically never play footy again all together, I don’t even know if I’ll play again next year at this stage,” Dewar said.
“So it is important that we all enjoy each other’s company at training throughout the week and play for each other come game time.”
Kick-off is from 2.30pm at Diggings Oval.
CSU: (likely) 1 Terrence Lindsay, 2 Matthew Howe, 3 Dean Hodges, 4 Brad Wright (c), 5 Alec Walsh, 6 Jacob Parslow, 7 Joe Dunlop, 8 Rob McMahon, 9 Tom McDevitt, 10 Evan Jones, 11 Mitch Acquilina 12 James Tristram, 13 Tom Adams, 14 Callum McGregor, 15 Sam Pasakarnis, 16 Brad Bowen, 17 Curtis Shaefer, 18 Ryan Ingram, 19 Hugh Aikman, 20 Brad Dewar, 21 Kurt Barton, 22 Sam Goldsmith, 23 Lionel Priest, 24 Brandon Miller.