OXLEY Vale Attunga may have played in the past four Northern Inland Premier League grand finals but that doesn’t mean all the players in red and white in tomorrow’s decider have grand final experience.
17-year-old right back Cameron Skewes will play in his first top grade grand final against Tamworth FC at Scully Park.
“I’ve only watched,” Skewes said.
“I played in the under 16s last year (and went) straight into this.
“We lost the under 16s grand final to Tamworth last year.”
To make the grand final side in his first season in first grade is a big effort in itself.
Now he wants to help the Mushies defend their title.
That means getting a better result than they did when they last played Tamworth FC.
TFC won 3-1 that day in a win that set the sky blues on the way to the minor premiership in the southern conference.
“We’ve just got to play a bit better than we did that day,” Skewes said.
“We’ve got to close them down quickly.
“We can’t give them too much space.”
Skewes comes up against a couple of his old Northern Inland State Youth League teammates in the grand final.
He played in the NIF U14s side that made it to the SYL finals a few years ago and so did a couple of Tamworth’s best youngsters.
“There’s a couple of guys my age, Will Kam and Travis Beard,” Skewes said.
“I’ll be on Travis this week, or I usually am.
“You’ve got to give him room, but not too much room.”
The OVA side is full of grand final experience, yet it is not an old side.
The average age is about 21 and Skewes isn’t the youngest in the squad.
“It’s a young squad,” Skewes said.
“We’ve got a 16-year-old who is in reserve grade and plays some first grade.
“You just try to learn something from the older guys.
“Knighty (Glenn Knight) is back this week so that helps.”
Grand final day is a big day for all involved.
For a teen back coming up against some strong attacking players it could be overwhelming.
But Skewes said he would try to stay calm.
“You get a bit nervous,” he said.
“But I just try to treat it like any other game.”