Toads determined to end long premiership drought
DESPERATE enthusiasm will meet big-game experience when University hosts the Toads in tomorrow afternoon's preliminary final.
The Toads are desperate to beat the Barbarians and claim the chance to secure their first premiership in more than three decades, against Noosa in the following weekend's grand final.
Several of the current Toads are former Nambour juniors whose fathers have also played for the club.
"We've got a huge monkey on our back at Toads," coach Paul Green said.
"We haven't won a premiership in 34 years, I think it is now.
"There's this real desire for our football club to win a premiership."
The Barbarians finished second on the ladder, while the Toads, who managed only four wins in the regular season, have peaked at the right time.
They demolished Caloundra in last weekend's elimination semi-final 41-17.
University coach Steve Scotland said his side had been forced into a slight backline reshuffle due to injuries and he expected an afternoon of innovative rugby.
"I think it's going to be a free-flowing game. Nambour are confident and they'll play to their strengths this weekend and it's going to be a dry track," he said.
"We're expecting them to go wide early .... I think the secret is you've got to out-enthuse them.
"If we can match them and out-enthuse them ... well Caloundra showed last week they (the Toads) can have tries scored against them."
The last time the Toads made a grand final was in 2007 against the Barbarians, who ran out victors.
Toads coach Paul Green said the key to his side toppling the Barbarians was maintaining defensive structure across the park, to stifle University's ability to strike from long range.
"It doesn't matter where they (University) are, across the park we've got to defend well and that's the key for us - we've got to have a good defensive performance," he said.
University coach Scotland identified forward James Zhao as primed for a strong performance, on the back of a solid game last weekend despite limited time on the ground.
UNIVERSITY v TOADS
Saturday, University Oval, Sippy Downs, 3.15pm