Eagles mentor Colin Kilby is confident Cowra can turn the tables on Bathurst Bulldogs in the preliminary final this week.
Bulldogs is the only team Cowra’s yet to defeat in the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2018 and they’re the only team in the way of Cowra and a grand final berth.
Cowra progressed by edging Forbes last week in the elimination semi-final 24-10.
While Kilby has only been at the helm, along with Rohan McKay and Troy Hayes, for just over one month he’s certain his troops can lift on the big occasion. No injuries last week means the Eagles are mostly unchanged.
“We haven’t beat them yet. But every time previously we haven’t had a squad that’s been consistently playing together. Each time it’s been thrown together forced by injuries and people being unavailable,” Colin Kilby said.
“Each time we grow in confidence and each time we’re stronger and each time we get closer.”
The coaching trio of Kilby, McKay and Hayes emerged when Col Jeffs took an opportunity in Canada to progress his coaching career.
Kilby said Jeffs had prepared both the squad and the coaching staff for his departure, and Kilby’s really pleased with the team’s development.
“It transitioned pretty smoothly. Col had us prepared for it and the players had already really bought into it. It’s been about maintaining everything and we’ve been able to with a consistent squad,” Kilby said.
“We’ve really started to develop as a unit and the belief in the squad is really showing.”
We really have the hunger to beat them this time around and this is the game that matters.Chris Miller
While the coaches are pleased, so are the players.
Captain Chris Miller said it was one his best experiences as captain of the Eagles last week.
He said the players “know we can beat” Bulldogs.
“We really have the hunger to beat them this time around and this is the game that matters. We know we can beat them,” Chris Miller said.
“I thoroughly enjoy leading Cowra every game along with Tim Berry, who’s is the brains. The weekend was really enjoyable and the boys can’t wait for this weekend.
“We focus on ourselves and our attitude. We know we’re a good chance of going a long way to win it if we just focus on us.”
Kilby identified winger Elliot Brice and fullback Pate Breamaisur as key players in the backs and Joe Dakuitoga and Tim Berry in the forwards.
Cowra plays Bathurst at Ashwood Park on Saturday at 3.15pm.
Cowra: 1 Tom Cummins, 2 Evan Stanbridge, 3 Joe Dakuitoga, 4 Owen Linnel, 5 Chris Miller (c), 6 Tim Berry, 7 Jeremy Montgomery , 8 Aiden McCleary, 9 Troy Jeffs, 10 Bill Cummins, 11 Jacob McNaught, 12 Jack Thurtell, 13 Kali Nacina, 14 Elliot Brice, 15 Pate Breamaisur