Proserpine-Whitsunday Raiders face Mackay City in the season decider this weekend.
Proserpine-Whitsunday Raiders face Mackay City in the season decider this weekend. Madolyn Peters

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Raiders' time has come

PROSERPINE-Whitsunday will have a chance for redemption this weekend when they face Mackay City for the second year in a row for the Mackay District Rugby Union grand final.

The strongest defence side in the competition, the Raiders will face the strongest attacking side this weekend at BB Print Stadium from 3.30pm.

After a solid season that saw the Raiders finish second on the competition ladder behind Cities, this weekend gives Proserpine- Whitsunday the chance to fix past mistakes as they look to claim glory.

The Raiders powered into the decider last weekend when they beat Cities in the first round of the finals 18-12, earning them a weekend off ahead of this week's clash.

Coach Andre Houston said the week off was a positive for Proserpine-Whitsunday, who will travel to Mackay on Saturday morning.

"Our week off hasn't hindered us. As a team I think we need the time off and that opportunity to revitalise and not think so much about rugby."

As far as game plans go, Houston said in the end it wouldn't matter what he put forward to the team as it all came down to how they execute play on the field.

"The players are the conductors who control the game and utilise whatever opportunities come their way," the coach said.

Although heading into the grand final off a win, Houston said Proserpine- Whitsunday were travelling to Mackay as underdogs and hoped to have as many supporters there as possible.

"It's always a challenge travelling down to Mackay as we will be the outsiders, the underdogs, but I know the boys will rise to the challenge."

A finals rematch early in the season saw the Raiders claim victory over Cities 19-12, followed by a draw in April's clash 12-all, then a loss in June's match 24-19.

Hoping to not see a repeat of last year, Houston said Proserpine-Whitsunday would head into the weekend's decider with a different approach.

"Our training in this lead-up week will be slightly different and the time we spend at the grounds before the game - we made note of that last year," Houston said.

"Having a good core group from last year will be a benefit for the team because the second they come in on Saturday they know the situation, and experience really is going to be key."

A supporters' bus has been organised and will stop at Whitsunday Sportspark at 10.30am, Reef Gateway Hotel 10.45am and BP Proserpine 11.15am for drive to Mackay.


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