CONDOBOLIN will clash with minor premiers Molong for the right to host the 2014 GrainCorp Cup southern division grand final after the Rams upset Blayney 27-23 in last weekend’s qualifying semi-final.
Played at Blayney’s King George Oval, the visiting Rams came from behind twice to down the second-placed Blayney and book a major semi-final date with competition favourites and defending premiers the Magpies at Molong’s Dr Ross Memorial Oval on Saturday.
Magpies coach Andy Hillan said he wasn’t surprised to see Condobolin come from 20-13 down to win by four points last weekend.
“I went out there and watched the second half and I thought both teams were fairly evenly matched,” Hillan said.
“To be honest I thought they were probably equal favourites.”
After winning the minor premiership in a canter - Molong finished three wins clear of their nearest opponent atop of the GrainCorp Cup southern division ladder in 2014 - Hillan welcomed last weekend’s break.
For the Magpies, the week off was the ideal way to rest “a couple of blokes with niggling injuries”.
Now, with his side one win away from a home grand final berth, the first-year Molong mentor was hoping his rejuvenated first XV could secure a piece of history for the club currently celebrating its 60th anniversary.
“Molong hasn’t hosted a grand final in something like 45 years, so that’s our first goal,” he said.
“Condo and Blayney are two sides with plenty of experience; they’ve been there and gotten the job done before. But I’m confident without getting too carried away.”
Hillan added the catalyst for his team’s recent success was an all-encompassing team effort.
“I guess there’s no individual players that really stand out, it’s been a big team effort,” he added.
“I was going through the players’ player awards last week and there’s only been two guys win it twice. I think it worked out that 10 different players have won it.”
Molong hosts Condobolin on Saturday, with kick-off at 3.15pm.
In the southern division’s do-or-die clash, Blayney will host Grenfell in the minor semi-final after the Panthers accounted for Canowindra 41-15 in the elimination game last weekend.
MOLONG MAGPIES: 1 Tim Gavin, 2 Tom Degreenlaw, 3 Brady Travis, 4 Ross Cary, 5 Joss Peffer, 6 Dean Buttler, 7 Tim Rodd, 8 Chris Hayes, 9 Will Oldham, 10 Dan Sandford, 11 Joe Reed, 12 Kyle Travis, 13 Matt Hawk, 14 Joe Doyle, 15 Patty Russell.