Adam McCormack and Ben Pursell to play sixth-straight decider in 2018 Mid North Coast Rugby Union grand final

Rare club: Hastings Valley Vikings duo Adam McCormack and Ben Pursell will become the only two players to have started all six grand finals. Photo: Paul Jobber
Rare club: Hastings Valley Vikings duo Adam McCormack and Ben Pursell will become the only two players to have started all six grand finals. Photo: Paul Jobber

ADAM McCormack and Ben Pursell will become the only two members of Saturday’s first XV to have started in every one of the last six grand finals.

Current captain Hamish McCormack was on the bench, but didn’t play in 2013 while Dan Willoughby played off the bench in the same year.

Pursell admitted he had been lucky to have played in such a sustained run of success.

“You don’t get to play six grand finals let alone on your own field,” he said.

“Most people don’t even get to play one grand final so we feel pretty lucky.”

While he agreed this year was a clean slate and a fresh start, the playing group hadn’t wiped their grand final defeat last year entirely from the memory banks.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve forgotten about it and you use that feeling you had on the final siren because you don’t want to feel it again,” he said.

Adam McCormack admitted every grand final side had been different and that was why the 2018 squad had their own mark to make.

“We’ve been there with different teams each year and we’ve never had the exact same team play two years in a row,” he said.

“We’ve had success and we’ve had ones that weren’t so successful but hopefully we get success on Saturday.

You don’t get to play six grand finals let alone on your own field.

Hastings Valley Viking Ben Pursell

McCormack admitted he didn’t have any superstitions ahead of big matches although he always used advice from previous coaches.

“You’ve got to be able to look at yourself in the mirror after the game and know that you gave it everything,” he said.

“I always talk to myself at home before games and I say that when I come back (home) I’m either a premier or I’ve lost the grand final.

“When I go back there I want to make sure I’m a premier this year.

“It’s a fresh start, but last year does still hurt. You don’t want to feel that again.”

Winning culture

A WINNING culture could be attributed to the club’s recent run of success – they almost expect to be in the grand final.

“We set pretty high expectations now where we have to be in a grand final,” McCormack said.

That winning culture has ensured the Vikings secured their place at the big dance despite a belief that last year’s loss was the end of their dynasty.

“I think a lot of people would have thought the Vikings dynasty was over last year,” McCormack said.

We set pretty high expectations now where we have to be in a grand final.

Hastings Valley Viking Adam McCormack

“We had some of our best players at the club finish last year and when they left there were some big holes to fill.

“Luckily enough through juniors and new players, those holes have been filled straight away and that’s why we’re here because those guys have stepped in.”

One in all in

McCORMACK said both second grade and first grade players would show their support for the under-14s.

“All seniors are planning on coming down,” he said.

“Last week our Facebook page was all about our under-14s and that’s what makes the club who we are – no one is better than anyone.

“We’ve got our grand finals but we’re coming down to watch them, then we’ll go and play our games.

“It’s going to be a special day.”

First grade kicks off at 3.15pm.

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