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Eastwood High On Emotion – Grand Final 1989

Eastwood High On Emotion

Sydney Morning Herald

Friday September 15, 1989


Eastwood have been warned against being lulled into a false sense of security if they want to achieve their dream of winning their first major premiership by defeating Randwick in the Sydney grand final at Concord Oval today.

Eastwood coach Geoff Johnson has pushed his players to forget their 16-9 major semi-final victory over Randwick two weeks ago. That is now ancient history.

The players have been told that beating Randwick today will be many times harder than defeating them in the major semi-final. They know Randwick could not play as badly again, and will come out of an unexpected long slump.

Eastwood know they cannot rely on Randwick making so many mistakes. They know that their game-plan, which revolved around unsettling Randwick in the midfield two weeks ago, will have to be more sophisticated.

The emotion runs for Eastwood, but reality directs one towards Randwick.

Already, the Eastwood celebration plans are in full swing. When a club has achieved only three major grand final appearances in 43 years, such days are special.

A giant marquee has been erected at T.G.Millner Field for the after-match celebrations. More than 25 kegs of beer have been organised. A stream of buses to transport Eastwood followers to the ground has been organised.

Eastwood coach Geoff Johnson is usually unemotional about such events. But even he has some preliminary plans.

“If you telephone me at 5.30pm tomorrow (Saturday), I will be delirious. I’ll be sitting in the background, having a cup of tea, and watching all my blokes being yahoos,” Johnson said yesterday.

His son Scott, who doubles as the Eastwood five-eighth, is eagerly anticipating his encounter with Mark Ella, primarily because he will be able to swap jumpers with the former Test captain at the end of the game. As it is likely to be Ella’s last game for Randwick, Johnson believes the jumper will quickly become a collector’s item.

Randwick coach Jeff Sayle has been through so many grand finals that he knows there is no real point in getting worked up, particularly when he has so many tradenames of Australian Rugby around him.

Randwick will not win by many points, but distances and margins do not matter in grand finals.

* Former Test breakaway Gary Pearse was appointed NSW Rugby Union’s executive director yesterday, while the NSWRU announced they have sold 20 debentures in their bid to keep the union solvent.

 © 1989 Sydney Morning Herald

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