Elks prepare for New England Rugby Union decider

BIG DANCE: Ben Emery and the Elks will take on Tamworth in this Saturday's grand final in Armidale. Photo: Catherine Stephen.
BIG DANCE: Ben Emery and the Elks will take on Tamworth in this Saturday's grand final in Armidale. Photo: Catherine Stephen.

It's been five years since a Glen Innes Elks men's team has been in a grand final and this year's third grade minor premiers are hoping they can bring the silverware back to town. The Elks will line up against Tamworth, who they beat in the major semi-final two weeks ago, in this Saturday's decider at Bellevue Oval.

While the Elks had the last laugh against the Magpies, the Tamworth side got the better of them earlier in the year but coach Sam Price believes they can thwart any threat and bring home the trophy.

"We are pretty excited and it is a match up against the Magpies again so it promises to be a very tough game," he said.

"They have beat us and we have beat them so it has been give and take all year.

"I think if we can hold on to the footy and not panic [we can win].

"In the semi we tried to score off every play; we spread it wide really well but then we had a bit of a habit of throwing that one-off pass.

"If we can just control that and defend as strong as we have been in the past and keep those set plays going well then it should be an interesting game."

Price believes if their speed men get clean ball, they will finish the Magpies off.

"If we can control that breakdown area and get nice quick ball out to our backs, they are quite damaging," he said.

"That is going to be our plan of attack, hold the ball in tight for a little bit and hold that ball in tight and give the backs some space out wide to really utilise that ball."

The Elks also have the luxury of having their full squad available for the encounter.

"It is a bit of a treat, it is going to be the first time this year we name 22 players," Price said.

"We are pretty excited about that. Excluding Ranald Burridge and his ankle injury, we are at full-strength."

Price is hoping for a few supporters to come down to Bellevue Oval to cheer on the Elks at 11.10am.

"Hopefully we can get a few locals down there on the weekend to support us and bring home the trophy," he said.

Team:

1. Mone Aho

2. Isaiah Tunamena

3. Sione Tangulu

4. Mitchell Swift

5. Thomas Coldham

6. Thomas Benton

7. Jake Baker

8. Ben Emery

9. Chris Hogan

10. Lachie Thomas

11. Tom Macbeth

12. Pate Kaufana

13. Kiteau Fortu

14. Frank Tealofi

15. Michael Miller (c)

16. David Newsome

17. Dean Swaffer

18. Halafoou Lua

19. Byrce Burey

20. Billy Hartmann

21. Steven Daley

22. Harry Miller