MITTAGONG Lions first grade became the first Highlands team through to a grand final this year with a 32-20 win over Camden on Sunday.
Warwick Carter and Jake Merceica both scored two tries for Mittagong with Matt Thorpe and Justin Madden also crossing the try line.
Goal kicking has been a problem for the Lions throughout the season but Madden stepped up on the weekend and only missed two conversions.
Coach Scott Borg was happy to get straight through to the decider but said Sunday’s performance was far from the Lions best.
“We started not too bad but then we dropped off in a period where we gave away too many penalties and dropped the ball,” he said.
“Our discipline was costly on Sunday and we didn’t have enough energy when we needed to but it was still good to get the win.”
In what has been a disrupted season for most teams, Borg said he wouldn’t mind playing this weekend to keep his side’s momentum going.
“We only had about 30 per cent of the ball in the first half but we still stuck in there in defence. As soon as we got the ball we knew we could score. I’d obviously like to go straight to the grand final to get there but I’d rather be playing this week.”
Borg said Warwick Carter and Mitchell Eccleston were both outstanding for the Lions in Sunday’s match.
The Lions will take on either Picton or Camden in the grand final with the second spot to be decided on Sunday afternoon at Mittagong.
“It’s going to be a tough game either way but I think we can beat both teams on our day. Hopefully we’re up for it on the day.”
Last year the Lions lost the grand final to Picton by just two points.
With the majority of the team in their early 20s, Borg said last year’s experience would help them this time around.
“It’s a massive thing to lose a grand final. So they know what it’s about now and hopefully we’ll learn from our mistakes.”
The only injury concern to come out of Sunday’s match was Robbie Payne who came off the field early in the match with an elbow injury.
He later returned to finish the match and Borg said with the grand final set to be his final game for the Lions he would definitely be running out with the rest of the team.
With two weeks to prepare for the grand final, Borg said Mittagong would be working on its fitness and focusing on its own game.
“We’ll change it up a little bit from last year. If we play our game we won’t get beaten.
“I think our middle’s the key. If they can lay the platform for myself, Warwick (Carter) and Matt Thorpe we can do what we do. If our middle steps up it’ll go a long way to winning the game.”
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