RSL-Colts facing the prospect of no RSL-Whitney Cup finals for the first time in more than a decade

FORWARD: Greg Buckley and his Colts teammates are playing for their season on Saturday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
FORWARD: Greg Buckley and his Colts teammates are playing for their season on Saturday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Eleven of the past 13 RSL-Whitney Cup grand finals have featured RSL-Colts.

The two seasons in that time where Colts didn’t feature in the decider, they were defeated in the semi.

But that incredible run of consistent success could be at an end with the men in red needing to chase 334 on Saturday to guarantee a place in this season’s finals series.

The defending premiers, currently in third, are a huge chance of dropping out of the three given the fact fourth-placed Macquare has already wrapped up a double bonus-point win over CYMS and is gunning for an outright victory.

“We get the runs and we’re safe,” Colts captain Greg Buckley said.

“We know what we have to do so it’s a simple job in that regard but it’s not going to be easy.

“But we’ve got plenty of batting depth and the people to do it.”

There’s no doubt about that with Colts possessing some of the finest batsmen in Western Zone cricket.

I like playing games where there’s a big total and the pressure is on me. I thrive on that.

Colts captain Greg Buckley

Brad Cox has enjoyed another stellar season while Darrel Williams has been a consistent performer.

Wes Giddings, Jason Ryan and Chris Morton are also more than capable of digging in but Buckley may well hold the key.

The captain scored a century in the final round of last season and after a few lean weeks Buckley has labelled himself due for runs.

“It’s a good feeling going in like that,” he said.

“I often find my mind wanders when I bat and sometimes I get bored so I like playing games where there’s a big total and the pressure is on me. I thrive on that.”

There’s no doubt there’s a huge amount of pressure on Colts but that’s not to say Rugby will be taking it easy.

A win for Rugby will seal progression straight to the grand final, something captain Nathan Munro is striving for.

“We’ve got to be smart and we can’t think 330 is enough because they’ve got the lineup to get it,” Munro said.

“We’ve got to be one our game.”

In past seasons, some captains have said the minor premiership matters little and taken the attitude of “you’ve got to beat everyone, anyway” but that’s not how Munro sees it.

ONE STEP AWAY: A win on Saturday will see Nathan Munro and Rugby move straight into the grand final. Photo: FILE

ONE STEP AWAY: A win on Saturday will see Nathan Munro and Rugby move straight into the grand final. Photo: FILE

“You always want to win through and play one less game and anyone who says it doesn’t matter is kidding themselves,” he said.

“We’ve got the chance to have a day off and go watch a bit of cricket and that will be the same for any other side (that makes the grand final).

“I think it would be a big bonus.”

With both sides having so much to play for, it shapes as one of the best afternoons of the season at No. 2 Oval.

The thought of Colts missing finals will seem bizarre to many but Buckley was straightforward when discussing how his side got into this position.

Colts only won once in the opening seven rounds of the season and had to deal with injuries to Brad Cox and Paul Hulthen while Buckley missed the start of the season and then he, Williams and Tom Atlee all missed cricket due to representative commitments early on and then Marty Jeffrey also departed the club for Sydney.

“We’ve been unlucky but we can’t just claim that,” Buckley said,

“We definitely want to finish in the top three.”

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