Wests looking for their fairytale finish
WESTS' season in the A-grade competition of the Bundaberg Rugby League mirrors some Hollywood sports epic.
The opening scenes could be of a team written off after losing a few star players, it's then topped up with replacements from other clubs, but goes into the season with the odds stacked against it.
The script would have the team led gallantly by an inspirational captain, Joshua Tanner, and coached by a man with immense football knowledge, Nathan Tanner, and the underdogs would carve their way through a tough season.
The climax would come in the finals, where the team battles the more favoured opposition in the fight for an unlikely premiership.
Tomorrow at Salter Oval Wests play Easts in the major semi-final for a chance at that fairytale finish.
Solomen Little, Kane Chapman and Bevan Page were playing reserve grade at other clubs before this and coach Tanner said there was one thing motivating them and their teammates.
"They want to play grand-final football. They know this opportunity, to even play in a grand final, is something not everyone gets," Tanner said.
"Some of the players have stopped drinking, some have started eating right and they're all keen."
Wests have approached the finals the same way as the rest of the season with a platform of strong defence the most important part of building a good game and Tanner knows stopping Easts' ability to run the ball will be vital tomorrow night.
Tanner said the danger would come from the experienced players in the Easts pack, particularly Rhys Neil, Shawn Swift and Ray Zysk, and they can stop the momentum Kyle Laybutt builds off that, his team will be in with a chance.
In the elimination final Isis play Brothers and the Devils should be well prepared because for the past couple of months they have been treating each game like a play-off after a less-than-impressive start to the season.
At the end of round 10, Isis was languishing in fifth spot with four wins, but charged home to be in the running for the minor premiership and finished the year three points behind Wests and Brothers.
Despite making a gallant charge up the ladder, the past results don't count when the game kicks off. Win and the Devils play the loser between Easts and Wests. Lose and it's another season of missed chances.
Form points to a Devils win after Zac Dann and Jake Thompson scored multiple tries in the demolition of Wallaroos at the weekend, but Brothers will be out to make amends after blowing their chances against Easts.
Brothers dropped too much ball in the second half against Easts at the weekend and that will be the area of the game coach Shaun Hobson will look to clean up the most.