Bolton Cup Colts Grand Final Preview

Thu, Jul 20, 2023, 5:09 AM
Rugby Vic Media
by Rugby Vic Media

This Saturday, two rivals Harlequins and Endeavour Hills will clash for the chance to lift the Bolton Cup.

Rugby Victoria’s Bolton Cup Colts competition has reached its finale, with Harlequins and Endeavour Hills both looking to finish the year on a high as champions for season 2023.

Meeting twice during the regular season, Harlequins came away victors on both occasions to cap off an undefeated season, yet finals are a different ballgame with higher stakes meaning anything is possible.

Both teams punched their tickets to the Grand Final with Harlequins overcoming reigning champs Melbourne Unicorns 22-15, while Endeavour Hills toppled Melbourne University in a 28-27 nailbiter.

Harlequins Captain Owen Rice said the team has been practicing key points of their game plan that led to success throughout the year.

“When you get to this point in the season and are playing the best teams in the competition naturally there is an expectation that it is going to be close,” Rice said.

“If we can execute our game plan, limit our mistakes and take advantage of Endeavour’s mistakes, then we are confident we can get the win - even if it is a close game on the scoreboard.”

Speaking on what to expect on Saturday, Owen Rice said Endeavour Hills are always a tough side to face as they are both physical and unpredictable.

“Endeavour Hills bring a strong forward pack and a backline with hard ball runners that will look to continuously break the line,” Rice said.

“However, as a team we have identified key factors in Endeavour’s game we will look to exploit, which we believe will be the difference in us winning on Saturday.”

Harlequins Coach Mark McGroarty said the standard of the Colts competitions this year has been very high, with the final likely to be another tight battle.  

“Having seen the talent across all clubs it’s really been steel sharpening steel this season,” McGroarty said.  

“In preparing for this week, we have been placing a big emphasis on enjoying our time together as a group - it’s a short season and we’ve created some lasting bonds.”

Heading into the Grand Final, McGroarty expects lots of power, physicality, skill and pace from Endeavour Hills.  

“Endeavour is the full package. We know this game is going to be tough and we are really looking forward to the challenge. Whatever happens at the final whistle will happen. We’re just grateful we get to spend one more Saturday together, enjoying the massive challenge the Endeavour Hills boys are going to present.”

On the other side of the ledger, Endeavour Hills Captain VJ Kalisi said his side will remain consistent in their preparation, looking to concentrate on executing all one percentage plays.  

“Harlequins are a quality team, and we know they will want to win as badly as we do, however I believe if we stick to our shape, and the structures we have in place, we will come away with success,” Kalisi said.

Endeavour Hills Vice Captain Cedric Iotua said his team is trusting the system their coach has put in place in preparation for Saturday’s game.

“Coach makes sure we’re focused on our jobs and put in the effort to exceed in them, and that just comes down to working hard at training,” Iotua said.

“We’ve also come to learn to only worry about ourselves and what we can control, and everything else will fall into place.”

Despite two losses to Harlequins in the regular season, Iotua said dwelling on the past only causes failure in the present.

“We’ve built upon past mistakes week in and week out, so we’re hoping to display that on the field come Saturday.

“Last week was a stepping-stone to what we want to achieve. Both sides are filled to the brim with talent, so it’s going to be fun. Harlequins deserve their flowers as being the in-form team of our competition and we’d love nothing more than to beat the best. Everything and more will be left on the field.”

Rugby Vic wishes both Harlequins and Endeavour Hills all the best for the Bolton Cup Grand Final on Saturday – may the best team win!

Catch the action via Rugby Vic’s Facebook page with a livestream from 11:55am or head to Harlequins Rugby Club at Holmesglen Reserve to catch the action at 12pm.


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