Mittagong Lions to face Oran Park/Gregory Hills in Group 6 reserve grade grand final

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Mittagong Lions players are ready to take on the Chargers in the grand final this Sunday. Photo: Lauren Strode
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Mittagong Lions players are ready to take on the Chargers in the grand final this Sunday. Photo: Lauren Strode

Back to back premierships.

That is what Mittagong reserve grade Lions will be hoping to achieve on Sunday when they face Oran Park/Gregory Hills in the 2018 Group 6 decider.

There has been plenty of excitement around the camp this week and a lot of belief among the players.

It is a very different team from 12 months ago.

Captain Simon Reid said just nine players from last year’s premiership winning side will be a part of the 2018 grand final.

“Going back to back in grand final appearances is an amazing feat, but it comes down to us achieving history with a new side. It's crucial that the senior players are up,” he said.

The club started training last December and Reid said making the decider was a reward for all the hard work put in both on and off the field by players and coaching staff.

A tough match is expected against the Chargers, who have beaten Mittagong on the past two occasions the teams have met.

“It's about playing smarter against Oran Park. We have the team, ability and passion to cause an upset,” Reid said.

For Mitchell Harris, being in a reserve grade grand final will be a new experience.

While he has been with the club for more than 15 years and notched up his 250th game for the Lions in 2018, he did not take part in last year’s decider.

His last grand final was with the under-12s and Harris said he was keen to get out on the field and help the side win another premiership.

“I’m definitely excited for Sunday. Can’t wait to get out there and rip in,” he said.

“The last eight weeks have been pretty dominant for the Chargers so we will be going into this game as underdogs.”

And while the past couple of results may be in the back of the players’ minds, Harris said they would approach this game as they had every other for the past few months- do or die.

“We’ve had that mentality for the last two months of footy that everything is must win so that’s going to help us with our mindset coming into this match on Sunday.

“I think we’ll just do what we’ve been doing all year [in terms of preparation]. If we put in a performance like we have in the last two weeks there’s no reason why we can’t win.”

Completion rate has been something the Lions have focused on throughout the year and Harris said they held the ball well in their match against Appin two weeks ago, which they will be hoping to do again come Sunday.

“We’re not far off the mark from being the best side we can be,” Harris said.

The Lions also pride themselves on their defence which was again strong in the preliminary final against Picton last weekend.

Another big defensive performance against Oran Park will go a long way towards Mittagong securing another premiership.

The match will be played at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday, with kick off at 1.10pm.