Josh Rainbow is being pretty cautious, he’s not too keen to get caught up in the hype of grand final week.
But after picking up the Group 10 player of the year award on Friday night, becoming just the fourth Cowra player to do so, the Magpies skipper admits it’s pretty tough not to sit back and crack a smile.
“It’s a bit of an achievement … I’m pretty happy about it,” the barnstorming, in-form back-rower said.
“It’s pretty good for myself, but as a team we’re not getting big heads, we’re trying to keep it casual leading into Sunday’s game.
“We went and watched the under 14s play on Saturday and they went well (winning the premiership), hopefully we can top it off on Sunday and do the same.”
The Magpies’ back-rower took out the Group’s top gong at the competition’s awards night at Bathurst Panthers on Friday, polling three points in Cowra’s final round massacre of Workies to skip ahead of a class field.
Rainbow earned 17 votes to lead Hawks’ skipper Willie Heta (14) and 2016 Group 10 player of the year winner, and Cowra teammate, Jeremy Gordon (11). CYMS prop Cam Jones also finished on 11 votes.
Rainbow is the first Cowra player to win the award since 2009, when Dean Corrigan took out Group 10’s top individual honour.
This year has been good but if we can top it off with a win it’ll be great.Cowra skipper, and newly crowned Group 10 player of the year, Josh Rainbow.
Bernie Wilkinson (1996) and Anthony McDonald (1987) are the only other Magpies to take home the award.
Coach Steve Sutton took out the Group 10 coach of the year award while flying centre Bradyn Cassidy took out the premier league top try-scorer’s award, ensuring the Magpies swept the majority of the top grade awards.
“It’s still a bit of a shock,” Rainbow said.
“They did the last five rounds of the comp and they did the tallys ... I was on top with 14 points with Willie Heta.
“Last round in Lithgow, I got the three points there. That bumped me up. Warren got three tires that day and thought he might have got the points in that game.”
Cowra will play Bathurst Panthers in Sunday’s grand final at Sid Kallas Oval and Rainbow said, for his side, nothing changes.
It’s all about defence and attitude for the minor premiership and major semi-final winning Magpies, as the club looks to win its first title since 1995.
This is Rainbow’s first premier league grand final.
“This year has been good but if we can top it off with a win it’ll be great,” he said.
”We’re going in positive but don’t want to carried away with things.”
Which is what happened in 2014 when the club last hosted a grand final. Cowra was flogged by St Pat’s in that decider, Benjamin John winning the Dave Scott Medal as player of the grand final.
“Benji John in our side this year which makes it easier. He killed us last time,” Rainbow laughed.
Jeremy Lang (Mudgee), Brad Fearnley (Panthers) and Harriet Messner (Mudgee) took out the first division, under 18s and league tag player of the year awards respectively.