Senior Premier hopefuls Masterton Red Star are taking nothing for granted ahead of their Senior Reserve Final against Tuhirangi tomorrow.
For the Rams it is not just the Ryan Cup for grabs, but also a shot at promotion to the senior premier competition.
They’ve made no secret of their desire to return to the top tier competition, but first have to beat Tuhirangi tomorrow and then knock over senior premier cellar dwellers East Coast the following weekend.
While they have had the better of Tuhirangi twice already this season, Rams head coach Brent McGlashan has a ton of respect for the southerners.
The Pirinoa-based team are the defending champions after upsetting Pioneer in the 2016 Final. Pioneer had gone through the season unbeaten.
“Tuhirangi knows how to play finals, so they are going to be dangerous,” McGlashan says.
The Rams were tracking a similar path until their shock – and controversial – 20-19 lose to Martinborough last weekend. With time up the Rams were poised to snatch a late victory with a conversion to come out in front. However, the referee ruled that they took too long and blew full-time.
McGlashan says they have parked their disappointment and the boys are firmly focused on the prize tomorrow.
On the up-side, McGlashan says the result serves as a timely reminder that they can’t take anything for granted in the final.
“It has brought us back to down ground, which is a good thing.”
He is picking a very tight match.
“Trainings are fizzing at the moment. We will be back to full strength, so the boys are really up for it.”
Missing last week were Colt Pureau, Lene Malatai and Asalemo Faofau, all set to start tomorrow.
While the promotion-relegation match is a massive incentive, McGlashan says all of the focus is on tomorrow’s game.
“We’ll get over Saturday, win or lose, and then we move on to the next week or we pack up and have a drink.”
Recognising the significance of the Senior Reserve competition, the match is being given the full treatment and is the curtain-raiser to the Tui Cup Grand Final. Kick-off, on the No.1 ground, is at 1pm.
The earlier game will be the Senior Premier Plate Final – the Hodder-Steffert Cup, an all Masterton affair between Pioneer and Marist. Kick off 11am.
Over on the No.2 ground, Gladstone takes on Marist in the Senior Reserves Play-Off Final, kick off 12noon; while Carterton and Featherston contest the Senior Reserves Plate Final – Presidents Cup – on the No.3 ground, kick off 12.30pm.
Full Finals Day Programme