Goulburn Workers Bulldogs v Queanbeyan Blues on Sunday at 3:00pm at Seiffert Oval
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs and the Queanbeyan Blues will collide on Sunday at Seiffert Oval to battle out the 2014 TTM Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final, with one side chasing a fairy tale and the other seeking redemption after last year’s heart break.
After being in and out of the finals since their last premiership in 2009, Goulburn has captivated the local public after their successful season under first year Captain-Coach Mick Picker.
“There’s certainly a big buzz around town that’s for sure,” Picker said. “It’s been a while since Goulburn has been in the finals full stop let alone the five years since we’ve been in a Grand Final.
“It’s been a really enjoyable year. I’ve never Captain-Coached a team before and a lot of our success is due to the players and officials around me and the club as a whole; they’re incredibly supportive.
“We may lack a little bit of finals experience in the Canberra comp but we’ve got plenty at other levels of footy. I’ve won an under 20’s premiership in 2008 and Michael Bani has won a comp with Manly in the NRL.
“We won’t be overawed and we’ll be ready to go.”
For Queanbeyan, their season has been strikingly similar to their efforts in 2013.
Last season, the Blues led the competition from start to finish before cementing a place in the Grand Final against arch rivals the Queanbeyan Kangaroos.
Unfortunately for them, the occasion got to them and the Kangaroos’ big match experience saw them prevail as the 2013 premiers, much to the despair of the Blues.
As such, Blues Captain Marc Herbert is motivated to make amends for last year’s loss.
“It was a tough loss to take last year,” Herbert said. “We dominated even more so than this year and lost only one match during the season but we also unfortunately lost the big one.
“We don’t want to let this one slip through our fingers.”
Queanbeyan has defeated Goulburn in their previous two encounters this year – 26-22 in Round 1 and 22-12 in Round 8 – however Blues Coach Simon Woolford is adamant that this will mean little on Sunday.
I think those matches are irrelevant now,” Woolford said. “I don’t think that Goulburn will be too worried about the fact that they haven’t beaten us this year and we’d be silly to go into the match thinking that it’s just going to happen for us because we’ve beaten them twice already this year.
“We’ll be prepared and ready to go.”
A key match-up which will likely be pivotal to the outcome of the match lies in the clash between the two five-eighths – Picker and Herbert.
Both have played first grade for the Canberra Raiders and both are the attacking lynchpins for their respective sides.
“It will no doubt be an entertaining and pivotal match-up between Herbie and Mick,” Woolford said. “They both played plenty of footy with the Raiders are both keys to their sides.
“Goulburn’s attack revolves around Mick Picker and his brother Ben at hooker so they’re players we will definitely have to keep an eye on.
“Certainly having Herbie back from injury has been a real bonus for us. We did a good job without him but you certainly see the team lift in confidence after having him back. He’s been really good over the last three weeks and we’ll be looking for him to continue that this Sunday.”
GRAND FINAL DAY - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, SEIFFERT OVAL
TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Queanbeyan Blues v Goulburn Workers Bulldogs, 3:00pm
Reserve grade: West Belconnen Warriors v Queanbeyan Blues, 1.10pm
Under-18 division one: Belconnen United Scholars v Tuggeranong, 11.40am
Under-18 division two: Tuggeranong v Gungahlin Bulls, 10.10am