GRAND FINAL: Wallaroos can make history in the Bundaberg Rugby league grand final.
GRAND FINAL: Wallaroos can make history in the Bundaberg Rugby league grand final. Alistair Brightman

HISTORY BECKONS: How Peter Waters and Wallaroos proved their critics wrong

PETER Waters never lost faith in his Wallaroos.

The Maryborough club's A-grade coach has been laughed at, mocked and criminally underrated ever since he took on the role at the end of the 2015 season.

He pledged to stick to Maryborough players. He primarily invested in the club's junior ranks, blooding 16 and 17-year-olds rather than importing players from other clubs or regions.

He did so with the belief Maryborough could win a premiership using the talent already at its disposal, and undying faith in the players already at the club.

The 2016 season went as expected. Wallaroos beat the lower-ranked teams but, while they competed for parts of games against the likes of grand finalists Hervey Bay, Waves Tigers and fellow finalists Past Brothers, they couldn't quite achieve victory.

Wallaroos welcomed lock Matthew Walker and front- rower Will Jung back to the club this season, while the existing squad had one full year's experience playing for Waters.

Again, Wallaroos could best the rest but struggled to achieve victory against top two teams Hervey Bay and Past Brothers. Despite that, Waters said in May his team would not lose again.

Grand final opponents Past Brothers proved Waters wrong immediately, but the coach didn't waver. Nothing could replace the faith he had in his players, it was just a matter of making the men that wore the blue-and-white jersey share that belief.

The proof came in the last fortnight when Wallaroos knocked Waves and Hervey Bay out in consecutive weeks. One player said the wins were deeply satisfying as "nobody expected Wallaroos to be successful”. Waters praised his players.

"I'm really pleased with how the boys have bought in,” Waters said.

Wallaroos don't have to win tomorrow's grand final to make this a successful season, but the club, and its merry band of supporters, will do all they can to lift the BRL premiership.



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