SHIRLEY HAWKS ENJOY THE BREAK AHEAD OF HISTORIC GF APPEARANCE
Last Saturday’s overtime thriller between Shirley and Linwood for a spot in the Canterbury Cup grand final may have been the game of the weekend.
With the scores locked up after 80 minutes, the Hawks dotted down in the corner during the added period to secure a 16-12 win and a date at the big dance – a remarkable achievement for the club in just its second season in the grade.
“Yeah, it was a pretty tough, competitive game going into extra-time, so I thought our boys showed a lot of character to hang in there,” Hawks coach Paul Lynch said.
Shirely, who finished the regular season second behind Linwood, have the week off while Linwood play Northern for the other spot in the decider.
Lynch isn’t too worried about who they face in the final, instead highlighting how important it is for them to worry about their own style of play – as they have been doing all season.
“Just the sole fact we like to stick to routine and it has proven to work. Try and keep our preparation the same all season. That is what got us there, so no point changing it now,” Lynch said.
The crowd at Linwood Park for the game may have outnumbered the following Massetti Cup semi-final. Lynch admitted he was surprised about the number of supporters willing the Hawks to victory.
The semi-final victory isn’t something for just the players to savour but also for the whole Shirley rugby league community. Beating the number one Canterbury Cup team on their own turf to grab a historic grand final berth underlines the club’s progress after taking out the Division One title in 2014 and ’16.
“I’d say it is quite a big deal for the community, we are very pleased with the amount of support we had there at Linwood Park on Saturday. We were quite surprised how many people there were at fulltime cheering for us,” Lynch said.
The week off also gives several of his injured players valuable time to rest. Lynch is happy to have the break, saying the easiest rout to the final was getting their first.
When asked how he aims to prepare for the big game in two weeks, his reply was simple.
“Just business as usual.”