Group 20 rugby league
That’s the mantra for minor premiers Leeton this weekend after the controversial decision to hold Sunday’s major semi-final 171km away in Hay.
The Greens kicked up a stink last week when the Group 20 executive rubber-stamped the move to play what could be Leeton’s only finals match aside from the grand final at Hay Park Oval.
It should have come as no surprise since the club holds catering rights for the premiership decider at EW Moore Oval on September 22 – meaning the semi against TLU will be played on the neutral turf of the Magpies, who earned the call-up by virtue of finishing sixth.
But even though coach Willie McDonald still doesn’t agree with the decision, he said there’s no point “whingeing” about it any longer.
“If we can’t get up for this game we’ll never be able to get up,” the no-nonsense Kiwi said.
“We deserved a home semi but at the end of the day, it’s only a couple of extra hours in the bus, the field is the same, the ball is the same – we’ll try to get out there, do the business and get home.”
McDonald will have close to a full-strength side to pick from after the week off, but the coach said he was undecided on his first-choice 17.
He indicated even though the Greens could have another break next weekend if they win, he won’t play anyone who isn’t fit.
“You don’t want to be dropping a man short if someone gets injured,” he said.
Leeton faces a tough challenge in the shape of the Sharks, who on the weekend became the first team to beat reigning premiers West Wyalong in more than three months.
Former Greens forward Brent Pike, now the captain-coach of TLU, said the whole club has felt a boost from the upset result at Ron Crowe Oval.
“I thought they’d be a run short and we got on top,” he said.
“All the boys are confident now but still, Leeton at Hay is a tough task.
“Our boys are used to travelling, so it doesn’t really bother us much, and Leeton travel well, so it won’t worry them either.
“But we know we can beat the top sides now.”
Pike said star pair Jaden Kelly and Mick Dodson were locked in to play “at this stage”, while Jock Potter (sternum) and Daniel Judd (hamstring) are 50-50 chances.