KOOTINGAL won’t be changing the way it approaches today’s Group 4 Second Division final as it tries to make good its second chance at making the grand final.
The Roosters can earn a re-match with Werris Creek in the decider if it can get past an enthusiastic Quirindi side at Kooty Oval.
“It’s a tough time of year,” Kooty coach Stuart Dines said.
“We’re looking forward to it and they’re up for it so it should be a cracker of a game.”
Dines said his side was at full strength again and won’t be making excuses.
He also hasn’t altered what the side has done all year in preparation for the final.
“I thought we were unlucky at stages last week,” Dines said.
“We’ll play the same sort of game.
“I let them play what’s in front of them and they’re pretty good at that.
“They can read the play well.”
The Grasshoppers have one of the best halves combinations in Josh Crittenden and Steve Nean but Dines said the Roosters can’t afford to focus on them.
“They’re handy but you have to watch the whole team,” he said.
“If you concentrate on a couple of blokes the others can advance.”
The Roosters have beaten Quirindi both times this year.
The Hoppers hope the big stage can bring out the best in them.
“Finals football is different to club football,” Quirindi coach Mark Austin said.
“All the boys lift up a level and that can take you a long way.
“We haven’t beaten them all year but the first game down here was our first game as a new team and they won by eight.
“At Kooty the score blew out but there was only four in it with 10 to go and we lost our structure and they put some points on us.
“We’re hoping to make amends for that.”
The Hoppers scored 32 second-half points in their last game, the minor semi win over Barraba.
They don’t expect to be able to do that against Kooty but they reckon they can score enough to win it.
“We can put points on, there’s no doubt about that,” Austin said.
“But they’ve got (Daniel) Sullivan and Chainsaw (Matt McCulloch) and I reckon Chainsaw would have made 70 tackles the other day.
“We’re also only a small side.
“But I think we’re evenly matched and it will come down to who stays to the structure and holds possession.
“If we can get the majority of possession it will go a long way to winning the game, but we have to hold it.”
Players are scrambling to be part of what could be Quirindi’s first grand final campaign in many years.
The coach has had to make some tough calls this week.
“We had 24 able to play and I’ve got it down to 19,” Austin said.
“Our hooker (Chris Darlington) is going to play with a smashed nose so he comes back in.
“We’re at full strength so if we don’t win there’s no excuses. We’re ready to play.”