DENMAN Devils might have exorcised all their mid-season demons to be on course for back-to-back A Plus Contracting Group 21 premierships at Greta Oval on Sunday.
The Devils were outsiders to beat Josh Pearsol and his talented young Muswellbrook Rams at Olympic Park in the minor semi-final a few weeks ago but prevailed 18-10.
They had lost their previous encounter to the Rams 34-20.
Last Sunday they hung on for a gutsy 24-18 preliminary final win over Scone Thoroughbreds at Scone Park.
The Thoroughbreds had trounced the Devils 40-18 in their most recent encounter at Scone Park.
And so onto Greta Oval for Sunday’s grand final.
The last time the two teams met, Denman led 24-12 at Denman Oval on July 19.
The Greta Branxton Colts were also down to 12 men, with the send-off of pivot Joby Patten but stood tall and raced in 20 points to win 32-24.
Denman was spiralling out of control mid-season with poor attendances at training because of work and injuries.
Coach Blake Dureau said his side had a meeting three weeks ago and committed themselves to a big finish.
They’ve since turned their season around and have one last hurdle – the Greta-Branxton Colts on Sunday.
They beat the Colts in last year’s grand final at Denman Oval and Dureau is confident they can go back-to-back.
“Everyone put their hands up to be a part of it,” he said of the recent meeting.
“They all started turning up to training and now we’re in a grand final.
“We hadn’t beaten Scone all year too.”
“But they will be back. Ritter (Scone captain-coach Daniel Ritter) has done a great job with them.
“He’s a fierce competitor and one of the proudest Scone men you’ll find.
“Beating them was huge for us. Everyone pulled together.”
Dureau’s big boot played a huge role too and he will be a key weapon in any fairytale rise to premiership glory on Sunday.
The Devils also have a “supporter” in Ritter.
While Muswellbrook Rams coach Josh Pearsol believes the Colts will be too strong in the forwards, Ritter believes the Devils can upset the Colts on their home ground.
“I cant see why they can’t winto be honest,” he said after Sunday’s six-point disappointment.
“It might depend on their 18s – if they play well and win then the first grade are in with a good shot too.”
Ritter will be just one of the many Group 21 identities at tonight’s presentation at Muswellbrook RSL Club.
It will be a celebration night for Singleton club president Brad Solman too.
He and wife Katrina won the NSW Country Rugby League’s National Volunteer of the Year Award last weekend.
Singleton will be represented in two of Sunday’s grand finals, their second grade side – after scoring two tries in the last five minutes to beat Murrurundi last Sunday – matching up against Scone and their Ladies League Tag side also playing Scone.
Sunday’s grand finals start at 10.25am with Denman’s Under 18 clash with Muswellbrook Rams.