LAST year Pirates breakaway Jake Douglas wasn’t certain he’d be starting the grand final until the last minute.
He was only given the nod that week but came out and produced a man of the match performance to help Pirates claim their third straight premiership.
It was the first of them Douglas had been involved in, although he had won a couple of U19 premierships.
Now he’s back for a second crack, and hopefully with some new boots.
Against Inverell last week Douglas somehow managed to rip the top of his boot off and needed some running repairs late in the first half.
He got it taped up but it wasn’t looking too good by the end of the game.
Just prior he’d made a great run, dodging around two or three defenders to put Pirates hot on the attack.
They scored a couple of phases later.
Douglas also had an impact in defence.
“I can’t wait (for the grand final),” he said.
“It’s been a bit different circumstances this year. We’ve come from the back of the pack.”
Personally it’s also been a bit different circumstances.
He’s spent the latter games, and some of the earlier games, at outside centre.
“It’s been a bit different playing in the backs,” he said.
More accustomed to playing in the forwards, the centres aren’t totally foreign to Douglas.
“I played a bit of centres in the juniors when someone was injured,” he said.
It’s been the same sort of scenario this year, with Douglas shifting out to the backs to cover for Aaron Pinches.
First with his suspension, and now injury.
While Pinches has been used off the bench he wasn’t thought to have 80 in him.
Douglas said it had been a challenge but he is feeling comfortable in the role and he still plays a bit like a backrower.
He still has plenty of football ahead of him too.
He’ll be virtually jumping straight on a plane to head to Scotland.
“I fly out on Monday and play my first game on the 22nd (September),” he said.
Along with Pirates team-mates James Trappel and Blake Pollock, he’ll play the Scottish season with Cartha Queen’s Park.
Douglas went over last year too but it didn’t end well.
“I broke my hand over there last year,” he said.
It meant he had to return home after only three games.
He said he can’t wait to get back over there and is keen to prove himself to the club.
His number one priority though is the grand final.