Tumut product Jess Beer will lead the Wagga Kangaroos into their semi-final against heated rivals and her former club, Wagga Brothers at Anzac Park on Sunday.
Beer, who won two Group 9 leaguetag premierships with Brothers in 2017 and 2018, switched allegiances last year and is hoping to add a third premiership medal to her trophy cabinet this season.
Roos are coming off a heartbreaking 10-6 preliminary semi-final loss to Young at Twickenham on Sunday, a match the Wagga side led for most of the way.
“It was devastating to lose in the last couple of minutes against Young; we did hold to the lead for the whole game but we underestimated a couple of their other players and that cost us in the end,” Beer said.
The 25-year-old said the Roos were building to something pretty special this year, after keeping most of their squad together after last year’s efforts.
“It’s unreal, we very much kept the same core squad together from last year and were just able to build on what we already had,” Beer said.
“We were able to add in a few extra girls that brought extra talent to our team, which was really good.”
A tight-knit group has seen Roos finished second on the Group 9 leaguetag table, only beaten by Young in the regular season and first week of finals.
“We have about 15 players and kept the team quite small because we had the talent,” Beer said.
“We worked on fitness, so we could utilise that talent and it has worked well so far.”
The tagger said playing against her old club would be difficult on Saturday and expected an experienced Brothers squad to be hard to beat.
“They’ve played a lot of finals footy and it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s a different game when it comes to finals,” Beer said.
“Now there is a lot more on the line, Brothers will step up and that is something we have talked about at training.”
Beer said she enjoyed her time with Brothers but winning a premiership at Roos would be all that more special.
“I absolutely loved my time at Brothers, but doing it with the girls we have at Roos would be amazing,” Beer said.
“The Kangaroos haven’t been to a grand final for 12 years and for the club to have the under 18s and leaguetag team doing well is great and we are really holding the club up.”
The talented centre has scored a half a dozen tries in what was a shortened Group 9 season and the club will be hoping the proven finisher can score a try or two against her old club on Sunday and help them to a drought-breaking grand final appearance.
In other Group 9 sudden death finals, the Gundagai Tigers under 18s Weissel Cup team will take on Wagga Brothers for a place in the grand final.
Brothers were belted by Kangaroos 22-nil last week, while the Tigers looked good during their 28-0 win over Tumut.
In the under 16s Sullivan Cup, a large and physical Yenda take on Gundagai for a chance to play the unbeaten Junee.
Yenda had Junee’s number for most of their preliminary semi-final but ran out of puff, going down 22-15, while Gundagai edged Young 20-14 in one of the matches of the year.
In reserve grade, Adelong product Lewis Marley and former Tumut Blues junior Steven Kemp will line up for Southcity when they take on Young.
Southcity belted Brothers 46-12 to earn their way into this game, while Young lost a tough and almost first-grade like encounter to Gundagai 18-10.
Anzac Park kick-off times Sunday
Sullivan Cup: 9.30am
Weissel Cup: 10.45am
Reserve Grade: 1.10pm
First Grade: 2.35pm