PALMYRA colts mentor Peter Lander believes his unbeaten young team is one of the best he has ever coached but remains wary of a Joondalup side that will be determined to cause an upset in Sunday’s grand final.
The Palmyra colts have reeled off 16 straight wins but know none of that will matter if they fall at the final hurdle on home soil at Tompkins Park this weekend.
After a blemish-free regular season, Lander said his side received a wake-up call in the first half of their semi-final with Perth Bayswater but had shown maturity to regroup and take control.
“We were only up 6-3 at half-time,” he said.
“We got together in a huddle in the middle of the ground and talked through some areas we needed to improve and I asked the players if they really wanted to get into the grand final.
“The answer in the second half was a pretty emphatic yes and we were reasonably convincing the rest of the way.”
Palmyra scored 20 unanswered points after the break to set up their grand final encounter with traditional colts powerhouse Joondalup.
“Joondalup are a very good side and we’ve met them in the finals many times,” Lander said.
“They’re a powerful team, very big and strong in the forward pack and when we’ve played them in the past it’s always produced a good game of rugby – especially in the finals.”
Lander said his side’s commitment to training and a good balance of talent throughout the squad were the main reasons for their success to date.
“The real strength of this side is that we play as a team and don’t have specific dominance in one area. We play a genuine 15-man game of expansive rugby that allows us to adapt to our opponents,” he said.
“The commitment as a playing group to training has been outstanding; the squad is very coachable and listen to instruction.”
Lander predicts a tough, close contest when Palmyra takes to the Tompkins Park field against Joondalup at 10.30am on Sunday.
“Colts is great rugby to watch and in the previous finals with the groups I’ve coached, both sides have lifted and the level of intensity and the quality of rugby goes way up,” he said.
Three Pally times vying for flags
Palmyra hosts this weekend’s RugbyWA grand finals and will have three teams vying for trophies at Tompkins Park on Sunday.
The unbeaten Pally reserves amassed an incredible 1036 points in 18 regular season games and will start their grand final against West Scarborough heavy favourites after dismantling Kalamunda 63-14 in the semi-final.
In a sign the club has a bright future ahead of it, Palmyra’s colts also ended the regular season undefeated and carried that form into the semi-finals, recovering from a slow start to thrash Perth Bayswater 26-3.
The colts clash with Joondalup in the grand final.
Palmyra’s third grade side upset Cottesloe 17-8 in the semi-finals to book a decider with Nedlands, who have lost just once this year but were well challenged by Kalamunda in the other semi-final, emerging 15-8 winners.
Minor premiers Palmyra crashed out of the Premier Grade semi-finals after conceding 14 points in the final 10 minutes to fall 21-20 to Associates.
Like the Premier Grade men, the Palmyra women slipped in the semi-finals, losing 17-10 to Wanneroo.