FARRER First XIII coach Damian Kenniff says his young side has to lift again to win its fourth University Shield against Tumut High School at Shark Park in Sydney today.
The Farrer boys have been dominant in most of their Uni Shield games this year but have had to improve in each of their last two games to progress to the decider.
“We have to go up again,” Kenniff said.
“We can’t stay where we were against Yanco.
“It will be a tough game.”
Kenniff used to come up against sides from Tumut when he was a Group 9 coach and knows what a good little rugby league town it is.
Farrer had to dig deep to come from behind and beat Eagle Vale in the quarter-finals and then defended its way to a win over Yanco Agricultural in last week’s semi-final to book a swansong final for its graduating players.
“The Eagle Vale game was a good preparation,” Kenniff said.
“And the game against Yanco was the best preparation we could have.
“I’m just happy that the Year 12s get to play in a grand final.
“Hopefully those leaders direct us around.
“And if we get into trouble they will lead us out of trouble.”
It has been a big year for Farrer football, and not just in the Uni Shield.
The First XIII took the bold step of moving up to the GIO Schoolboys Cup, the top-level competition in the country where only the best 12 teams in NSW compete.
Farrer didn’t win any of its three games and copped a hiding from eventual winners Blacktown Patrician Brothers while suffering a heavy injury toll.
But in two of those three games the Tamworth school was impressive against Sydney opposition and was a better side for the experience.
Most of the players in the team has played at Shark Park before, in either opens or under 14s, or have played at other NRL venues.
“The GIO Cup was good, especially the first two games,” Kenniff said.
“They were only 18-8 against St Greg’s and 30-6 against Hills.
“I’m thinking Shark Park won’t be a worry.
“We played at Brookvale last year and we had the game at Brookvale this year (against Hills), so we have that experience.
“I’m thinking Shark Park won’t be daunting for them.”
The injury situation has improved since the last GIO game.
The only players missing from the starting side through injury for today’s final are winger Zach Leonard and centre Brad Cappello.