The Queanbeyan Whites Second Grade team has ensured themselves a grand final berth after their breathtaking win on Saturday over the Tuggeranong Vikings.
The match, which also secured the Minor Premiership for the Whites, went down to the wire, and it was only a full-time pushover try which gave Queanbeyan a 28-27 win in the dying seconds.
Despite the nature of the match, Queanbeyan coach Sean Debenham had complete confidence in his side.
“I knew that we had plenty of time on the clock. All we needed to do was get the ball back and back ourselves,” Debenham said.
“We’ve done that all season, there’s a lot of belief in the squad, so all we needed was the ball in hand and I knew we would come up trumps.”
Debenham had good reason to be confident; he estimated that the Whites had scored tries to win after the bell four times this year.
The grand final will take place in a fortnight, and the Whites will face the winner of this weekend’s preliminary final between Tuggeranong and the Royals.
At this point, Debenham is careful not to focus on either of his side’s prospective opponents, and is instead ensuring that his team are as well-tuned as possible.
“Both sides have been challenging throughout the entire season, so we’re gonna come up against a team in the grand final and we’ve just gotta account for who that’s going to be,” he said.
“Two weeks out, I’m not going to even contemplate who we’re going to come up against, because there’s no point preparing for both teams.
“We’ll wait and see who wins through on Saturday and who we’re going to come up against and just where we need to fine-tune for that particular opposition.”
In addition to thanking the squad for their hard work throughout the season, Debenham also singled out team captain Jake Gordon.
“He’s an astute player, he’s very capable [and] very skilful,” Debenham said.
“His game management is one of the best I’ve come across. He keeps the guys focused on where they need to be and keeps them honest.”
The Whites will play the winner of this weekend’s preliminary final on 18 August at 1:25pm.