It’s a happy homecoming for three members of the undefeated Newcastle Rebels under 18’s side as coach Mark Morrissey and players Jack Jackson and Ross Haidle will return to the Mid-Western region for the Laurie Daley Cup final on Saturday against Riverina.
The side, which has a staggering for and against of 252/30 through six games, looks to cap off a dominant campaign at Glen Willow.
GRAND FINAL DAY @CountryRL LIVE from MUDGEE@NRLKnights Laurie Daley Cup coach @Moz28Mark & his undefeated team tackle the Riverina Bulls on Saturday in the final.— Peter Jolly (@Pete_Jolly) April 10, 2018
The @NRLKnights have only conceded 30pts on their way to the final.
Live on @CountryRL
Mark Morrissey won a premiership with the Newcastle Harold Matthews side as its mentor but the Gulgong product has taken the reins of the under 18’s unit and his influence has obviously been a positive one.
Jack Jackson, who’s the younger brother of NRL star and Canterbury Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson, was also born and bred at Gulgong and will have a host of family members in the stands on Saturday – as will all three of the returning heroes.
Lastly, Ross Haidle’s father played for Mudgee and Kandos throughout his childhood and he’ll return to the town he grew up in on Saturday.
Although the return home will be nice for the trio, this weekend’s goal is simple – win the Laurie Daley Cup.
Mudgee will host the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cup Finals along with the CRL Northern v Southern Women's Trial at Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex this weekend 🙌— Country Rugby League (@CountryRL) April 9, 2018
📝Details - https://t.co/d8YYvcp2HD#JohnsCup#DaleyCup#CRLWomens#Mudgeepic.twitter.com/Rt6u9QAf2D
That won’t come easily, though as the winners of the Southern conference, Riverina, also hold a 6-0 record.
“Grand finals are hard to win. You’ve gotta take the right approach,” Morrissey said.
“The boys are fired up for this week. They’re all excited and that’s what it’s all about on grand final week.”
To concede only 30 points in six games is almost unheard of and Morrissey attributes the feat to his side’s mental strength.
“It’s a credit to their self belief and attitude. Defence comes down to attitude,” he said.
“Only conceding 30 points in the whole season, it’s pretty significant.”
Newcastle’s clash with the Riverina Bulls will commence at 1.30pm from Glen Willow Oval.