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Illawarra League 2019: Butchers ready to go up a gear

PRIMED: Thirroul coach Jarrod Costello has seen his veterans like Damian Sironen (pictured) lift their intensity as the finals approached. Picture: Anna Warr

Story from: Illawarra Mercury

By: Mitch Jennings August 23 2019


The Butchers claimed the minor premiership and last year’s runners up will be looking to take another step towards grand final redemption at Collegians Sporting Complex.

It was hurdle they fell at last season, dropping the major to Wests and taking the tough route through the prelim to the decider. It’s not something Costello has dwelled on, but he says the experience is valuable.

“We haven’t looked back at last year all that much other than the fact we need to start really well,” Costello said.

“We had quite a few guys coming back from injury so it probably wasn’t a true indication of where we were at but we’ve certainly made sure we’re focused this year on making sure we get that start right.

“It’s got to help us that we’ve been in this position before and we know what works, we know what doesn’t work. A lot of people say it’s just another game of footy but the reality is it isn’t.

“It’s a major semi so it’s very different to a normal game. It all goes on the line, there’s more at stake, there’s usually more emotion around these sort of games.

“Our focus is on making it a really good 80-minute performance this week and I think the way we’ve prepared we’re going to see that.”

The top-two match-up comes after both sides finished on equal competition points, with both sides in a rich vein of form heading in.

“The last couple of games our first halves have been really good and we’ve been progressively getting better which is pleasing,” Costello said.

“There’s been a noticeable lift in the guys attitude, probably since the Wests game three weeks ago, just in the intensity in our preparation. That’s probably been the most pleasing thing over the last month.

“Collegians are a really good side, they’re a big physical pack, they’ve got [five-eighth] Jarrod Boyle there who pulls the strings and a lot of strike out wide.

“We know what we need to do to get the win but we know what’s ahead of us and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”

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