Defence will be key to claiming Under 20 title

Flying high after overcoming a 22-6 deficit in their win over the Northern Pride last weekend, the Townsville Blackhawks will be looking for redemption from their previous loss to the Norths Devils in this Sunday’s Hastings Deering Colts grand final.

Playing against each other for the second time in three weeks, the Blackhawks and Devils faced-off two weeks ago in a first v second grand final qualifier in which the Devils came away with an 18-14 victory.

Despite finishing well, the Blackhawks trailed for much of the game and were unable to claw their way back into the lead, earning Norths the first spot in the grand final.

After having to try and come from behind in both of the previous games, the Blackhawks will need to come out of the blocks early against a Devils outfit who haven’t lost since Round 14 in June.

Blackhawks captain Sam Martin-Savage said he hoped the momentum from erasing the 16-point deficit last week against the Pride would carry over into the grand final.

“We’ve got to come out of the sheds with the same mindset we have at the back end of games,” he said.

As well as the carry-over of momentum, Martin-Savage said defence would be their main focus.

“All year we’ve tried to have a focus on our defence, so hopefully on Sunday our defence will be one of the best parts of our game,” he said.

“We’ve tried to tone our attack down a bit and not go away from our game-plan because when we do we fall apart; so if we can stick to what we know and stay patient hopefully we can get up.”

After beating Townsville to get into the grand final, the Devils now have the belief they can topple them again, despite the Blackhawks winning the minor premiership.

Devils captain Kobe Hetherington said defence was always important in these types of games, but their major emphasis would be on patience – especially in attack.

“Patience is a massive key, it always it,” Hetherington said. “Things might not be working, but if you just stay patient and stay in the grind, eventually it’ll pay off on the scoreboard.

“In defence, we’ve got to be good in the middle and keep it nice and tight to stop their forwards from going through, but they’ve got a bit of spark out on the fringe as well so we’ve got to be good all over the park too.

“Defence wins games so if you defend well, then the attack will come, but it all starts with defence.”

Follow the scores for this weekend’s Hastings Deering Colts matches at QRL Live