The Canberra Vikings have won through to their second NRC final with a hard-fought 40-35 win over Perth Spirit in Canberra.
They’ll meet the winners of tomorrow’s semi-final between Queensland Country and the Fijian Drua in next Saturday night’s decider in Canberra.
Here’s the fulltime reaction from both camps.
Tom Cusack, Canberra Vikings captain
“We knew it was going to tough, losing a bit of experience with ‘Bev’ (Blake Enever) and ‘Carts’ (Sam Carter) over the last few weeks.
"Losing players like that who you can always rely on to do the hard work meant we all had to step up, but the boys did the job and that’s pleasing.
“Tim Sampson said during the week that our round two game again Perth was probably the most physical game he’s ever seen in the NRC, so we knew we were up for another tough one tonight.
“It was pretty simple what we had to do. Our tackling was good, our defence was good, our structure was fine. It was just more our workrate.
“It was all about attitude, and what we wanted to get out of this. You can say it’s been a good season, but if you can’t win this game or the next game now, well what’s the point?
“We’ll be hoping for some sore bodies coming out of the other game tomorrow, but we’ve got a few to rest up ourselves.”
Ian Prior, Perth Spirit scrumhalf
“Yeah, it’s been a long season, and we had our chance to win it there at the end, but unfortunately that yellow card didn’t help our momentum.
"The Vikings had the ball the first 20 minutes of that second half, but we knew it would come back our way and we had to make the most of it. We almost did, be we were just held up short.
“It’s pretty frustrating, but I’m really proud of the guys for what they’ve gone through on and off the field, and to pitch up here and play a quality team after a fair bit of travel over the last couple of weeks, it’s a pretty amazing effort from our guys”
Tim Sampson, Canberra Viking coach
“Yeah, it’s really pleasing. I said during the week, I’m just really happy for everyone that’s been involved in the program so far, and yeah, one to go now.
“That was a really physical game, so hopefully it’s another physical one tomorrow (between Queensland Country and Fiji).
“It’ll be an exciting week now, but we’ll just enjoy it like we enjoyed this week. That’s what finals footy is all about.”