ST ALBERT’S College qualified for next weekend’s New England rugby union second grade final after accounting for cross-town rivals Armidale Blues in last Saturday’s elimination semi-final match.
Albies found themselves down on the scoreboard after the opening exchanges when the Blues travelled the length of the field to score a five-pointer.
Just four minutes later, Albies’ Charlie Sykes found his way over the line, shortly followed by Brendon Power to put the students in front 14 points to five.
We think we have been up there or thereabouts all year so to get the reward to make it through to the grand finals is very rewarding for the club- Tom Vanzella
Albies extended their lead shortly before half-time through a try in the corner to Tom Jobling.
Early on in the second half, the Blues closed in on Albies’ lead when Tom Harvey crossed under the posts.
Albies hit back with a try of their own in the corner to give them a 24-12 lead.
Armidale Blues’ Alex Barrett had the final say when he went in next to the corner posts.
The conversion was missed and Albies found themselves in front at the full-time siren 24-17 to make it through to the grand final against unbeaten minor premiers Guyra Ghosts.
Albies have three sides playing on grand final day including first, second and fourth grades coach.
Second grade coach Tom Vanzella said the number of sides making it through to the final week of competition just goes to show how much talent is in the rankings at the club.
"We think we have been up there or thereabouts all year so to get the reward to make it through to the grand finals is very rewarding for the club,” he said.
"It just shows the club has a lot of depth this year which is really encouraging.”
Vanzella said beating Guyra in the grand final will be the toughest challenge the team has faced but believes his side will be ready for it.
The two teams met in the first round of semi-finals where the Ghosts thumped the students 34 to nil.
"Last time they had the wood on us pretty easily but I think this time the boys will be a bit more prepared and a bit more fired up,” Vanzella said.
“We have a young side, these sorts of challenges will be good in their rugby development which is what this is all about for second grade and from our point of view, we are excited an looking forward to the challenge.
"They are a big side, they are a lot older side as well so they have a lot of mature footballers and the young blokes have to step up and meet that challenge.
“This week, I think we will be concentrating on making sure everyone is committed 100 per cent to the breakdown and look to go wide too.”
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