Classy finsher Jordan Hobbs has been scratched from the Dewar Shield Grand Final, but Quins coach Chris Allen has faith his side can adapt.
We chatted with the man recently named by The Meat Pie as joint 'Coach of the Year' winner, to understand how his team is preparing for the Big Dance.
Rugby Victoria (RV): It was a clinical semi-final win over Unicorns. What pleased you most about the performance?
Chris Allen (CA): The way the boys responded to losing two players in the first 15 mins (an injury to lock Jono Lightfoot and winger Jordan Hobbs), meant we had to adapt a few things on the fly.
Unicorns really changed the way they played in that second half and it took us a while to adapt and control possession again, just being able to arrest those moments and momentum are huge in these big games.
RV: Any of those injuries affecting the Grand Final team? How did you spend the week off last week?
CA: Like most teams we’ve lost some players this year to injury and I really feel for Jordy Hobbs who will miss this week’s Grand Final.
We were pretty sore after that game so the week off was really good. We tried to keep things as normal as possible by training during the week and we also had an early session on Saturday morning.
Our S & C coach Maradona Farao has the boys in great shape so it’s really about detail now.
RV: It's been a dominat seasons and you now come into the GF as the #1 ranked team. Do you feel the pressure?
CA: I’m not sure pressure is the right word. Every week in the Dewar Shield our opposition wants to take our scalp so we speak about that often.
The competition has been so even this season and the expectation on our players doesn’t change week in week out. Obviously this week poses some different factors, and I get that, but our boys are really excited for this. We’ve worked hard since last December so the accumulation of all the effort means we are ready.
RV: What do you like about this House team? Where are their strengths and where will they challenge you most?
CA: They play for 80 minutes. We’ve seen that from them over the past few weeks, and they have a big pack and a quality set piece with some damaging ball runners.
Added to that I’ve been impressed with their midfield where they have some real pace.
Like all good front rowers, I would say though this will be won upfront!
RV: What has been the proudest moment of the season for you?
CA: The way the boys have connected both on and off the field.
We developed a culture early in preseason at our Camp in Anglesea and we’ve always had a next man up attitude so the trust in whoever pulls the jersey on is there. That underpins everything we do.
RV: First try scorer...who you tipping from Quins?
CA: Jake “The Snake” Lyon loves a meat pie so look for him to be sniffing one early!