Sunday’s Group 16 rugby league grand final will have just a little extra meaning for cousins Mike and Ryan Apps.
Sharing the captain and coaching duties of Bega’s first grade the pair will not only be out for the premiership against the Bombala Blue Heelers, but individual milestones as well.
“It’s going to be my 100th senior game on Sunday, and for Mike, he’s hanging up the boots after this one,” Ryan said ahead of the game.
There will be plenty of passion from the Roosters, who have almost all grown up as juniors of the club with everyone playing for their club-brothers – sometimes in a literal sense.
There will be three Apps boys with Deon back in the fold for Sunday, the Parberys, the Bower-Scotts and a chance of two Dowdles with young Jack sitting at 18th man currently.
“There has been a lot of excitement at training this week and our best numbers yet,” Ryan said. “It was just as loud with two teams as it had been with all four.”
Ryan praised the team edge-to-edge saying the Roosters boasted a strong forward pack, a great halves combination and some quick and agile flankers on the edges.
“Both the Bower-Scott boys in the halves have some incredible skill and they can pull some magic out of their ass,” Ryan said with a laugh.
“I think our middle three with [Scott] Fuller, [Mitch] Carter and Pup [Jarrod Tamatea], they’re going to lay a great platform for us and open room for the outside backs.”
And despite the thrill of grand final footy, the team will have to keep a level head and play to their style.
“Our main thing is to not play too much ad lib footy straight away,” Ryan said. “We just need to grind it out, get the field position and open some holes, then we can throw it around.”
Apps went on to say that Bombala were an incredibly capable team that had some strong players in the right positions.
“Blake gives them a great kicking game - even if you have a poor set - having a strong kicker can still set you in bad field position.
“Tyler Jones has been going quite well in their halves, I think he picked up a hat-trick last week –
“They have some young guns coming through then you’ve got the likes of Wame and their pack with Luke Ingram in their – they’re formidable.’
Results have swayed either way by tiny amounts with the co-captain saying Bega had won by four, while Bombala had claimed earlier results by two.
“It’s tit-for-tat and it’s going to come down to the end – they’re going to be tough and we’ve got to outlast each other.”
He went on to say Bombala had been able to exert some control over the Bay and would attempt the same against the Roosters, something had the tri-colours have no intent of being complacent about.
The Roosters have been the benchmark in the top two grades, securing the minor premiership in both firsts and reserves.
And Ryan encourages everyone to get along to the Bega Rec Ground on Sunday to cheer them on.
The reserves headed by Scott Barton were also up and about at training and will aim to exploit any gaps they can find in the hulking Cooma forward line on Sunday.
Officials have said Barton trains his team like a first-grade outfit and that the side could stand up in the top division.
It’s a confidence boost for the squad, who are going in on the back of some injuries suffered in the last outing against the Stallions.
The Group 16 rugby league grand final will be at the Bega Recreation Ground on Sunday with play from 10am.
Grand final draw:
Eden Tigerettes v Bombala High Heelers
Under 18s 11.30am
Narooma Devils v Bay Tigers
Bega Roosters v Cooma Stallions
First grade 3pm
Bega Roosters v Bombala Blue Heelers