The Parramatta Eels have made the club’s first grand final in the last season of the under-20s National Youth Competition.
The Eels will take on the Manly Sea Eagles in the decider but Eels coach Luke Burt said the side has been eyeing the match since early in the season.
“When it first got announced that it wasn’t going to be the NYC again, we were lucky enough to be meeting with the boys and I said to them, ‘lets make a bit of a legacy as the last ever NYC premiers’”, Burt told Hills News.
“For it to come through like it has, it gives credit to the boys’ attitude and determination to get what they want.
“I’d love nothing more. As a coach, you get that feeling as much as when you were playing in the big game. I get emotional thinking about it, I’m really keen and it means a lot to me and the club.”
The Eels finished the season in fourth but a win over the minor premier Cronulla Sharks gave the side a week off.
Coming up against one of the most successful under-20s teams in the competition’s history in Penrith, the Eels dispatched the Panthers 28-6 to move into the grand final.
Burt said it was a big win as “not many of my boys have beaten Penrith in the under-20s competition”.
Manly enter the grand final from eighth and are also looking for a maiden NYC premiership.
“They take their opportunities, where they play what’s in front of them,” he said of Manly.
“They have a very good dummy half that will get out and cause us a lot of problems if we don’t control the ruck.
“They’ve also got some very big and powerful outside backs when they bring it out of their end so it’s important we turn up defensively because they average a lot of points even when they lose games.
“We have to be very good defensively and hopefully our attack will take care of the rest.”