Uni ready for mighty fight
A MONTH ago people thought Keith “Irish” Taylor's role at Rugby Park today would be to assist to hand out medals.
But today the University hooker will be on duty and looking to lift the Premiership Trophy after the grand final match with Colts.
It wasn't until the final week of the season University secured a top four place, demolishing Frenchville then Brothers in a close match.
University coach James Nasser has good reason to be confident for today's big clash.
“I've never lost to Colts as a player or coach since 1989,” he said.
Nasser respects the 2009 Colts but is not overawed by its record, instead focusing on where his own team is at.
The coach is pleased Uni did it the hard way with three do-or-die games leading into today's match, especially coming through without injury.
He said the younger players have gained from the experience.
So how is his team going to win?
“The players are going to have to be committed to winning and committed to one another,” he said.
Captain Andrew Hanrahan said a poor start was annoying but not surprising.
“It's always an issue as a lot of players can't commit themselves early on,” he said.
Hanrahan said the University game against Frenchville showed how well the team could perform.
“We got on a roll and stuck to our game plan,” he said.
Hanrahan does not under-estimate Colts and knows the players.
“Colts, particularly in the forwards, have been the same for the five years I've been around. Also Mitchell Smith (kicking) can target any part of the ground,” he said.
Two of those experienced Colts players are Zach Jones and Steve Benson.
Jones said Colts strength lies in being strong all over the park.
“We are a well balanced team and so the opposition don't know who to target,” he said.
”If we play to our potential then we'll do really well.”
He said it was up to players to remain fully focused for 80 minutes.
The inspirational Benson will lead Colts on to the park and as a veteran of five grand finals he rates the current squad as good as any he has played in.
While agreeing that a strength of the Colts team is having quality players all positions, he said it is something more fundamental that makes it a good unit.
“The big thing is that we all get on,” he said.
Benson is not expecting Uni to roll over.
“ Uni will be tough alright but we'll be focused on our stuff to get that right,” he said.
An area where Colts has been on the improve is discipline, he said, as it was giving away too many penalties early in the year.
Benson is also expecting a big game from massive centre Charlie Fetoai.
“He's been talking himself up all week,” he joked.
As always Colts coach Frank Busby looks for positives, including an early kick off time of 4pm.
“At least we can go for a beer early,” he joked.
Busby said he has no problems as all his players are keen to get on with the job. He said Colts will have pace down the flanks with Comets winger Joe Collins-Soo selected.
While the coach rates the Uni pack he still feels Colts will have all the answers.
“I think we are stronger all over the park,” he said.Grand finals Today: 2pm Blackwater v Cap Coast (Reserve Grade), 4pm Colts v University (A Grade).