Ballina eyes history-making NRRRL premiership hat-trick
BALLINA is on the verge of creating club history if they can win a third straight Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League premiership on Sunday.
The Seagulls are hosting the grand final for the third consecutive year against Murwillumbah at Kingsford Smith Park.
Ballina beat Murwillumbah in the 2013 grand final and broke a 20-year premiership drought in the process.
It has been business as usual since they beat the Mustangs 30-22 in the major semi-final last week.
"Everyone is on deck and we've had a good week so far," coach Tyler Iverson said. "It will be the first grand final for some of our young blokes so I'm sure the nerves will kick in.
"We've just tried to keep everyone healthy and level-headed leading into the game."
Ballina lost no less than 10 of its premiership-winning team from last year.
Iverson took over the head coaching role when Greg Barnes stepped aside after three seasons at the helm.
The team lost plenty of quality with Andrew Battese, Brett Kelly and Robby Miles among the exodus.
However, the Seagulls were able to rebuild with the likes of Zac Beecher, Michael Dwane, Jay Meaney, Nick Meaney and Tommy Watkins handling the pressure of first grade this season.
"The young boys at the club were always going to get a chance this year," Iverson said. "We pride ourselves on our juniors and there is only a couple of players in this team that didn't come through our system.
"We set a goal to make the semi-finals this season and to host another grand final is fantastic."
Murwillumbah will be a tough test and should have plenty of support with all three of its teams in grand finals.
The Mustangs were clinical in a 35-10 win against Evans Head in the preliminary final on Sunday.
"Murwillumbah is a quality opposition and they'll be confident after the weekend," Iverson said. "They had a convincing win and always step up in the big games."
Gates open at 9am on Sunday with first grade scheduled for a 2.45pm kick-off.