THE town of Aberdeen is expected to be a sea of “black and gold” this week, as the Tigers chase two premierships in BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League on Saturday.
While the firsts secured their position at the weekend, the club’s reserves were already preparing for the big stage at Olympic Park after winning the major semi-final a fortnight ago.
The Tigers’ number ones tackle the Muswellbrook Rams, while the “reggies” go into battle with long-time foes Singleton Greyhounds.
And, their respective appearances break a 10-year drought.
“It’s a great thing for the club,” reserve grade captain-coach Sean Millwood said.
“I came here in 2006 – and we had both teams in the 2007 grand finals.
“So, it’s been a while between drinks.
“It’s also huge for the town; there’s a massive hype around the place.
“Everyone wrote the Tigers [firsts] off after the boys lost to Greta Branxton.
“But, they’ve turned it around.
“Hopefully, there’ll be double cause for celebration on Saturday evening.”
Millwood’s led the side by example in 2017 – and is very happy for the chance to defend their crown.
“The effort by all the guys has been faultless,” he admitted.
“There’s a strong mix of experience and youth.
“Young fellas like Micky Taylor have really lifted.
“Luckily, we boast a lot of depth [in the club].
“A few players, who’ve been called into first grade at various times, have returned with a spot-on attitude.
“They’ve taken a lot of confidence from having a run with the top side.
“In 2016, we did it the hard way.
“However, it’s been different this year [following our win in the major semi].
“The weekend off was a good thing – and a chance to get our bodies right.
“We’ve trained really well and go into the game fresh.”
Millwood is not under-estimating the Greyhounds either.
“They’re a strong outfit – and taken part in the past 14 or so grand finals,” he explained.
“We’re not the favourites.
“And, we’ll have to play better than we did in the major semi.
“We know Singleton will be hungry.
“So, it’s important we stick to our structure and match it with them [the forwards] early.”