Clarence Coast Magpies take on Ballina in u/12 at Yamba.
Clarence Coast Magpies take on Ballina in u/12 at Yamba. Adam Hourigan

GRAND FINALS: Future league stars go into battle at Yamba

RUGBY LEAGUE: For the first time in more than seven years, the Clarence Coast Magpies are set to host the Group 1 Junior Rugby League grand finals, with a day of action descending on Yamba.

It will be a big day for the Magpies club, with teams coming from across the Northern Rivers in the search for glory.

The Magpies will have two of their own sides in action on the day, with the under-12s and under-16s taking to the field throughout the day.

While home-ground advantage can be a fickle thing in junior rugby league, Magpies secretary Kerry Lee said it was just a great opportunity for their junior footballers.

"To get to play a grand final is good, but to get to do it in front of your friends and family is great," she said.

"To host grand finals is a massive opportunity for our club and we are really looking forward to the day."

It is also a major undertaking for the club, but Lee said it had been made easier by the volunteers who worked tirelessly this week to prepare at Yamba League Field.

"We are lucky to have as many volunteers as we do," she said.

"A few of the senior club have also been out here helping this week. An event like this just brings the whole community together.

"We have a great, strong club and a very proud club."

The action kicks off at 9am today, with a full canteen and barbecue facilities running throughout the day.

 

Clarence Coast Magpies Under-12s
Clarence Coast Magpies Under-12s Contributed

UNDER 12: Magpies shoot for third-straight title

THEY have been one of the most dominant outfits in junior league, and now the Clarence Coast Magpies under-12s are shooting for ultimate glory in their third-straight grand final.

The Magpies have been a well-oiled machine under coach Gary Mills, with a focus on fitness leading them to outlast all opposition this year.

While they finished the season in third spot on the Group 1 ladder, the Magpies have put in determined efforts against Ballina Seagulls and Grafton Ghosts to progress through the finals.

"They are all very excited about the opportunity," Mills said. "We have been building well toward the back end of the season.

"I don't know too many junior sides that have won three grand finals in a row. There might be a bit of pressure on them, but I think it is more excitement really."

A lot of the Magpies' success has been spurred by Mills' old-school approach.

"It's all about training," he said. "They turn up, put in the effort and reap the benefits."

 

South Grafton Rebels Under-15s
South Grafton Rebels Under-15s Contributed

UNDER 15: Rebels don't mind underdog status

SOUTH Grafton has been the form side of the Group 1 Under-15s competition but it will still step onto the field today as the underdogin the grand final.

After losing to Ballina two weeks ago in the semi-finals, the Rebels had to fight to the final whistle against Marist Brothers last week to earn their spot in the decider.

With strike power across the park, especially through their halves Jordy Gallagher and Matthew Barker, scoring tries is far from an issue for the Rebels side.

But their defence let them down in the semi-final, which coach Rod Gallagher said was something they had worked on tirelessly this week.

"They know what went wrong in that game and they know what needs to be done to fix that," Gallagher said.

The coach organised a team barbecue yesterday to reward the players and help galvanise his troops for the big game.

The players will also have injured teammate Joey Power in their thoughts as he lends a hand on the sidelines.

 

Clarence Coast Magpies Under-16s
Clarence Coast Magpies Under-16s Contributed

UNDER 16.5: Clarence side plays together as one

AT THE start of the season, nobody gave them a chance. They were written off before a whistle had been blown.

Now, the Clarence Coast Magpies under-16 outfit is one step away from success.

From having next to no players at the start of the season, the future Magpies have had to scratch and claw their way to the top, and it was a tenacity born out of a belief in one another, according to coach Gary Mills.

"They have just instilled that belief in themselves this season," he said. "Through hard work and determination they have found this belief. That is the biggest thing for me, as far as I am concerned they are already winners."

Mills, who has an old-school coaching philosophy, has worked his troops hard on the training paddock this season, and he says he believes it is one of the reasons the side has tasted success.

"Their fitness is great, they would clock around 15-16km of running every week," he said. "They play as a team. When they run out against 13, they run out as one."

GAME TIMES

9am: U10s

9.50am: U11s

10.40am: U12s

11.30am: Girls League Tag

12.30pm: U13s

1.30pm: U14s

2.30pm: U15s

3.30pm: U16.5s

The venue is an alcohol- and smoke-free zone.



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