Crafty Sly leads way from five-eighth
A SWITCH to five-eighth has brought out the best in Ballina Under-18s captain Jordan Sly in the NRRRL this season.
He played second row last year and is part of a Seagulls team aiming for three straight premierships under coach Greg Barnes when they play Cudgen at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, tomorrow.
Only lock Billy Dwane is still there from the first one in 2016 while halfback Jake Petty and lock Sunny Sheather have been standouts this season.
"Jordan has really stepped up this year and Jake Petty has played every game and led us around well,” Barnes said.
"We're pretty confident in what we can do and no other club has won three (Under-18) grand finals in a row.
"The best thing about these boys is they know how to play the game and they're really good kids off the field.”
Ballina has lost only two games this season and one was against Cudgen in a dour major semi-final in wet weather a fortnight ago.
Sly led from the front in the preliminary final against Lower Clarence and the Seagulls looked back near their best in a 30-14 win.
"I think having to play again last week has helped us immensely,” Barnes said.
"We came into the major semi-final off a bye in the last round, a week off for being minor premiers, then it was our first wet weather game of the season.
"Cudgen are a really good side, though. We had about eight of them in the rep side and they deserved to get into the grand final first.
"I've been lucky to have Troy Johnstone, Mick Sheather and Gerry Thompson on the coaching staff this season and the first grade have been really good to us with opposed work.”
Kick-off is 11.15am.