By Casey O'Connor
On Tuesday I caught up with Warwick Cowboys captain Michael Bloomfield for a chat about Sunday’s TRL Grand Final against the Valley’s Roosters.
When I asked how the past week had been Mick said – “It’s been busy and a bit stressful but good”.
He confirmed the Cowboys will field their best 17 players on Sunday with all players fit and training well.
Bloomfield said his side came through a tough training session last Saturday unscathed and coach Matt Grew scheduled training sessions on Tuesday and today, Thursday, before a final training run on Saturday morning.
When asked about the team’s improvement this season, Bloomfield said a lot can be attributed to the coach’s ability to connect with his players.
Grew – who was the A-Grade assistant coach last season – has seen several of the younger players come through the grades, having coached them to premiership appearances in Under 18’s.
“The 2019 team is a well-balanced side with a good mix of experience and youth,” Mick said.
“We started the season well but by mid-season the team was plagued by injuries and suspensions.
“The boys dug deep to get into the finals and then showed against the Roosters two weeks ago how much they wanted the win.
“We were down 24-4 two minutes into the second half but just built momentum and had plenty of self-belief when the game started to swing our way.”
Bloomfield admitted there’s plenty of nervous energy around the team but despite leading quite a youthful side he knows there is also a level of grand final experience in the team.
The younger brigade, including Harry and Ben Sullivan, Mitch Watson and Keiran Fender have tasted grand final football in Under 18’s but came away empty-handed.
Bloomfield and Cowboys five-eighth Coedie Tandy experienced back-to-back grand final success while playing for the Killarney Cutters in the Border Rugby League competition in 2013 and 2014.
Several of Warwick’s more experienced players were part of the Cowboys’ unsuccessful premiership assault in 2016 and are determined to go one better.
The Roosters have an impressive TRL premiership success rate and after dominating Wattles in the Preliminary Final they will be fine-tuned for Sunday’s big dance.
Bloomfield said it was impossible to name just one of the Roosters as a danger.
“They have a strong halves partnership, a punishing forward pack and plenty of speed out wide,” he said.
After his team’s sensational come-from-behind win two weeks ago he says there’s still room for improvement.
He will be looking for much better ball security from his players, especially early in the game.
“We cannot allow the Roosters to get away to lead like they did two weeks ago and expect to win,” Bloomfield said.
The captain says he is feeling the weight of expectation as the Grand Final draws closer, but having missed playing in the 2016 ‘GF’ due to suspension he is trying to keep a lid on his own excitement until after the game.
Wrapping up the chat, Mick, who was coy about his playing future – signalling this could be his final year in A Grade – said – “It would be just awesome to bring the Premiership Trophy home to Warwick in the TRL’s centenary of Football Year”.