KENDALL Blues will use the heartbreak of last year’s 29-26 Hastings League grand final loss to spur them on in this Saturday’s season decider.
They’ve been the best side all season and will be well-led by captain Beau Kettle against the Dean Hurrell-led Comboyne Tigers.
It will be the third time in four years the two teams have faced off in the grand final.
The sides have also clashed in three matches this season.
The Blues hold a 2-1 advantage and if those matches are any indication, it promises to be a heartstopping season finale.
Comboyne claimed first blood with a 28-18 victory in Kendall earlier in the season before the Blues hit back with a 16-12 win and then an 18-16 victory in the major semi-final.
“It shows that we’ve been the best two teams all season,” Kettle said.
The Blues skipper said last year had been discussed, but it hadn’t been a sole focus.
“A couple of the older fellas have brought it up, but that’s been about it, we don’t focus on what’s happened too much,” he said.
“We’ve got a similar side again this year except for one or two.”
After more than 200 first grade games, Glenn Banton is expected to hang up the boots at full-time which provides an added source of motivation.
“He’s been around the traps for a while and coached a lot of the younger boys in their junior days,” Kettle said.
“It would be good to send him out a winner.”
Another page in what could soon become a best-selling novel looms with the opposing captain.
It has been almost 30 years since the Tigers last claimed back-to-back Hastings League titles.
On that occasion, current captain-coach Dean Hurrell’s father Greg was in charge during their 1988 and 1989 successes.
It remains the one and only time Comboyne has won back-to-back titles.
The Hurrell’s are a well-known family name in Comboyne community circles.
“The whole lot of us all played for Comboyne and went to Comboyne Primary School,” Hurrell said.
“There’s heaps of family history with the town and with dad winning comps as well so I’m trying to do the same thing as what he did in a way.
At the start of the season, the Tigers captain was unsure if he would ever get another chance to play alongside older brother Todd.
“The big thing about this season is that my brother was going to pull the pin because last year he won the comp with South Newcastle on the same weekend I won with Comboyne,” he said.
When the younger Hurrell sibling moved from the Hunter back to Hastings in 2009 he felt his opportunity to play alongside his older brother had gone.
“That was our last throw of the dice to get a game together so I’m just so grateful he went out of his way to travel up here on the weekend’s he has this year.
“I’d never played with him and he’s come up here for this year so it’s been awesome.”
The decider kicks off at 3pm on Saturday.