NSW GPS: Joeys motivated ahead of title showdown after hard-nosed win over Kings

Photo: St Joseph’s College

St Joseph’s shared last year’s title with Kings but now, after edging out the joint reigning champions last weekend, they’re one win away from standing alone atop GPS’ zenith in 2019.

With last week’s thrilling, 13-10 win over Kings in the bank Joeys host Scots in a title-deciding battle of the competition’s undefeated heavyweights at Hunter’s Hill.

Of course taking down Scots is easier said than done, but Joeys coach Tim Andersen is certain his troops are well-placed to do so.

The hard work that’s gone into earning the opportunity certainly isn’t lost on Joeys’ mentor either, considering the hard-fought nature of this year’s title race.

“We train and play hard every week in the hope we are put in such a [position], as do all schools,” Andersen said.

“The GPS competition is very tight and every week is a huge challenge … so to be in this position is a fantastic achievement for both schools.

“I have no doubt having two undefeated teams playing each other in the final round is rare so we are pleased to be a part of that with The Scots College.

“Scots are a very good side. They are well-drilled, well-coached and like us will be very motivated and excited by the opportunity this weekend.

“What is important this week is we focus on ourselves and making sure each player does he own job to the best of his ability.

“Like every week there is always things to improve on. We need to make sure we focus on our execution, continue to improve and work on defence and make sure our set-piece is solid.

“The motivation this week is to play to our potential, to put our very best performance on the field and for each boy to do themselves, their families and the school proud which they do each week.

“If we do this then we will give ourselves every opportunity to be in the contest.”

Joeys did just that last week, holding out a fast-finishing Kings side in the dying stages of a mouth-watering clash Andersen said was “extremely tight and very-evenly contested”.

Joeys led 7-nil before Kings hit back with a penalty goal to cut the gap to four, the former school nailed two penalties of their own though to extend their lead to 10 heading into the clutch.

Kings did cross again, and following that converted try mounted another attacking raid in the final minutes but Joeys held them out to secure a crack at the 2019 title.

“Whilst we may have had a 13-3 lead at one stage the game was a lot closer than that particular scoreline indicated,” Andersen explained.

“We knew they would bring plenty of intensity and passion and we were right. They were a very good team … they defended extremely well and put us under pressure for the whole 70 minutes.

“For the last five minutes Kings had both territory and possession but we were able to hold them out for what was a gutsy and pleasing win.”

The defensive efforts of both sides were actually something Andersen highlighted ahead of this weekend’s decider, and he also lauded his troops’ composure.

“I thought both teams played particularly well last week. In particular, I thought the defence from both sides was outstanding. The defence was patient and well-executed and for me this was specifically pleasing,” he said.

“We were also very happy with the composure of the team in the final stages. As has been the case all season, the way the boys play for each other and as part of a team is pleasing.”

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