Rebels reggies to lift for home crowd
RESERVE GRADE: It is not often a club can get two sides into grand final day - for the South Grafton Rebels it has been more than four decades since they last achieved the feat.
On that occasion at McKittrick Park they won in both grades and if they have their way tomorrow afternoon it will be a case of deja vu.
It has been a roller coaster year for the Rebels reserve grade side but a well-timed run of form heading in to the finals series was just what the doctor ordered and the team were able to capitalise on that form last week against Coffs Harbour Comets to book their fairytale grand final day.
Bulldozing front rower Austin Cooper said that despite the season that was he knows he will walk out on to McKittrick Park flanked by his best mates, by his brothers.
"That is what this team is about,” he said. "A lot of us hang out and that, it is a pretty close side and we talk a lot between us.
"It has been a good season, a few ups and downs, but we really stuck in there for each other.
"Thinking about the grand final it does put butterflies through you, but you just try and put this stuff in the back of your mind.”
For Cooper it has been a tough season off the field with his father and Rebels' stalwart Scott Cooper having serious health issues this year.
But with the support of his club and community Cooper has been able to deal with those emotions and will now head into tomorrow with his dad firmly on his mind.
"With him being sick and all, you just think to yourself "you need to keep pushing, you need to keep going” because that is what he is doing,” he said.
"He does a lot for us, and this is a way we can pay him back, by going out there playing our hardest and coming away with the win.”
The Rebels will meet a red hot Macksville, but that has not quelled the belief in the home side.
GROUP 2 RESERVE GRADE GRAND FINAL TEAMS
SOUTH GRAFTON REBELS: 1. Kyle Daley, 2. Dale Eamens, 3. Aaron Martin, 4. Walter Donnelly, 5. Tim Rigg, 6. Andrew Kapeen, 7. Keiron Johson-Heron, 8. Matt Mclennan, 9. Chad Cassidy, 10. Austin Cooper, 11. Josh Harris, 12. Nathan Blanch, 13. Mick Watkins (c/c), 14. Brian Quinlin, 15. Tasman Randall, 16. Anthony Skinner, 17. Adrian Skinner, 18. Jeff Skeen, 19. Bally Robinson, 20. Luke Roberts, 21. Adem Robb, 22. Adam Beven.
MACKSVILLE SEA EAGLES: 1. Jimmy Cutmore, 2. Peter Ling, 3. Mitch Liebe, 4. Damien Carriage, 5. Gerard Meehan, 6. Lucas Grace, 7. Neville Donovan, 8. Dave Lindsay, 9. Grant Collison, 10. Ben Collison, 11. Joe McKay, 12. Kade Spear, 13. Mike Carter, 14. Jordan Leckie, 15. Luke Shields, 16. Luke Willett, 17. Kristian Kelly, 18. Steven Rouse, 19. Ben Goulder, 20. Jake Fuller, 21. Beau Saville, 22. Ryan Taylor.