Six players from the undefeated Forster Tuncurry Hawks Green under-12s team will go into this weekend's Group Three Junior Rugby League grand finals hoping to achieve something that hasn't been achieved at the club in some time - three premiership wins in a row.
Hayden Robertson, Ryley Connors, Logan Joughin, Jordan Bendeich, Lucas Monks and Jocelyn Reardon were all members of the Hawks teams that claimed the under-10s division in 2018 and the under-11s division in 2019 and they'll be hoping that same winning formula can see them emerge victorious from Saturday's grand final against the Port Macquarie Sharks at Port Regional Stadium.
Coach Graham Robertson, who coached them to their previous victories, says while they haven't dropped a game this season, a hat trick isn't going to come easy.
"It's going to be a little bit tough because we're going to be playing at Port Macquarie with their refs, so we'll see how we go," he said.
But in terms of tenacity and will to win, Mr Robertson says little has changed among the outfit, which has been complimented by the other quality players that have joined the team this year.
"They've got a good heart," he said.
"They just don't give up."
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From a coaching standpoint, Mr Robertson said he put a lot of focus on the team's fitness and this was a strategy that had continued to pay dividends, with the team getting started on their training a few weeks before most other teams.
"I get them fit early and that gets them off to a good start," he said.
But with the 40-minute games broken into four quarters rather than two halves this season because of COVID-19, Mr Robertson says it's been harder for the team to use their fitness to their advantage.
However, there are other techniques he and his trainers use that have a positive effect regardless of any on-field rule changes.
"We don't yell at them," Mr Robertson said.
"We just respect them and they respect what we do."
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The team has played the Port Macquarie Sharks only once this season prior to Saturday's grand final, overcoming them 22-6 back in round two.
Most recently they beat Hawks Gold under-12s in last Saturday's semi final, winning 18-6 despite a determined effort from their club mates.
Mr Robertson said the game was a good test ahead of the grand final.
A win on Saturday will be made all the sweeter if they can pull it off given it marks the end of an era, with Jocelyn - the team's sole female - headed to league tag, and Mr Robertson looking to turn his attention to his younger son, who'll be coming through the under-10s.
"I want to see him win a grand final," Mr Robertson said.
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