IF YOU ask the Leeton Greens if a certain word starting with R is on their minds this week, they publicly deny it.
But as the team prepares to face the side that defeated it in last year’s Group 20 grand final, the scoreboard on September 18 last year has to be burned into the back of the Greens’ minds.
On that day it was West Wyalong celebrating their club centenary with an historic 24-12 win. However, Greens president Steve Preston said his side is only concentrating on its own destiny this season, and not revenge.
“The boys spoke about that after the game. They said while it was a good effort to win the game against Bidgee, they said the job’s still not done,” Preston said.
“At the time they didn’t know who they had next up, but they said either way we’d have to beat the two sides in front of us at some point.
“You can look at it as revenge, but that result (last year) is in the book and that’s where it’s going to stay.
“The boys are just happy to be a bit closer to another grand final, but as they say, you’re only as good as your last game and the only way they see they can fully redeem themselves is if they come away with a grand final this year.”
After knocking off the Bidgee Hurricanes last weekend, the Greens were very interested spectators at Ron Crowe Oval as TLU hung on for a two-point win.
“They (West Wyalong) have got some good strike weapons, and really what the guys took away from the game is what they saw of Wyalong was expected,” Preston said.
“Both sides know each other’s danger players well because they have played each other so much and a lot of our blokes have played with their better players in the rep teams, so they know their strengths and weaknesses.”
West Wyalong co-coach Willy Jones admitted the lack of football in the lead-up to the clash with the Sharks did cost them.
But Jones stopped short of saying his team lost on purpose in order to have another 80 minutes of game time, rather than enter another grand final having only played twice in five weeks.
“It was a bad loss but we had a couple of weeks off before that which makes it hard. They were just the better team on the day, but the fortnight did make a fair difference,” Jones said.
“But we’ll have two or three good training runs this week and hopefully we’ll be better for it on Sunday.”
West Wyalong has shown an affinity for wining preliminary finals, having knocked out TLU last season 34-14 to earn its place in what would prove to be one of the most important games in the club’s history.
Greens fullback Sam Eisenhut is expected to be cleared to play after suffering a concussion last round after copping an accidental knee to the head.
West Wyalong prop Grant Wood sustained a cork last weekend, but will take his place in the side along with centre Mark Leadbitter, who was late inclusion after overcoming a back injury.
“He got through the game pretty well so he’s right to play this weekend at this stage – touch wood,” Jones said of Leadbitter.
“But we’ll just have him in the bench again. He won’t be starting, but he’s a handy player to have on the bench.”