GLEN Innes is determined not to let tomorrow’s Group 19 grand final go the same way as last year’s decider when the Magpies lost to Inverell on home soil.
The good news is the Magpies arguably have a stronger squad this year and they have definitely enjoyed a better lead-up to the game against Guyra this year.
“Our preparation has been better this year,” coach Dale Keegan said.
“It’s been smooth, just as we wanted it.
“It’s been a pretty relaxing week for us.”
Glen won the title two years ago by upsetting Guyra at Guyra but suffered a seven-point loss to Inverell last year in something of an upset result as well.
But this year’s side looks slicker than ever.
“It’s our third in a row,” Keegan said.
“We know what needs to be done.
“I don’t like to compare and contrast because what’s happened in the past is history now.
“We just have to look at this Sunday and get our own backyard right.
“We expect it to be 80 minutes of tough footy and it will come down to whoever turns up on the day ready to play and who scrambles the best in defence.”
Glen beat Guyra in the major semi-final to reach the grand final.
The Maggies also rolled the Spuds in the final regular season game, making this their third clash with Guyra in a row.
“In the major semi we didn’t play well,” Keegan said.
“But, again, we were hampered by injuries.
“Hopefully we’re due to execute a bit better than we have in the last couple of games against them.”
Guyra’s big strength is its big forward pack.
That is something Glen will have to contain.
Fortunately they have their own big men to do the job.
“Our pack has been good all year,” Keegan said.
“We have to defend well against Guyra.
“Defending smart is the key against them I think.
“If you look at their side it’s a good side on paper.
“I know they’ve had a couple of injuries but so have we.
“They’ve got the likes of Rolffy (Jason Rolff), Josh (Koroibulu) and Richo (Jeff Richardson) and big Apakuki Mate, you’ve got to remember he’s an international.
“He was probably their best player against the Rangs last week.”
The injury problems at Glen are not as serious as in the Guyra camp but there is a cloud over a few players.
Centre Joel Jackson hasn’t been named but Jake Key returns to the squad.
Whichever group of players runs out it will be to a home crowd.
“It’s always good to have the home game,” Keegan said.
“The town here always gets right behind us.
“It’s a good venue with good facilities.
“I might be biased but I think it’s the best facility in the Group.”
The Magpies are also aiming for an under 18s title when they take on reigning champions Armidale.