GUNDAGAI coach James Smart has dismissed the Tigers’ premiership drought as a motivating factor against Albury Thunder in Sunday’s decider at Wagga’s Equex Centre.
Since winning the flag in 1983, the Group 9 club has suffered heart-breaking grand final losses in 1984, 1993, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Three defeats have been by four or less points.
“It’s not about how long it has been since we won one,” Smart said.
“We don’t want to win it more because of that, we want to win it because we have done a lot of hard work.
“I don’t think the records or history will be a factor.”
Gundagai came through its preliminary final win without any fresh injuries and, although the Tigers stumbled over the line in the final 15 minutes, Smart is confident of turning in a strong performance this weekend.
“We need to win the battle of the field position,” Smart said.
“They make a lot of ground through their big forwards and we need to slow them down as much as we can.”
Albury emerged victorious 28-8 and 40-22 in its two home and away battles this season with forwards Mitch Davis, Andrew Cowhan, Lou Goodwin and Josh Cale laying the foundations for the victory.
The Thunder will look to continue that dominance and shut down in-form centre Damian Willis who joined the Tigers from Junee this season.
Willis is expected to lock horns with Thunder’s Dion Belford-Laulu.
“Gundagai had a number of good players at the moment and Damian Willis was one of them,” coach Josh Cale said.
“We had a good look at them and they are playing well.”