Brad Cain has big shoes to fill after being called into five-eighth for Brothers last shot at the grand final.
The 19-year-old has been named to replace Peter Little as the Wagga sides looks to secure their first grand final berth in a decade.
Cain has only missed one of the Brethren’s games this season, but has mostly come off the bench in his rookie season.
He’s only started in four games so far, with the last of those on the wing against Junee in June, but is thrilled to be given his shot in the preliminary final against Gundagai on Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Cain said. “It’s obviously a very big game, well and truly into finals and it is a do-or-die for us, so hopefully I can go out there and do my job for the team.”
Little made a surprise return in the loss to Southcity last week, only to re-injure his broken finger.
Joe Leggatt came in at five-eighth to cover Little before that, but coach Terry Westblade elected for a different option this time around.
“We’ve gone with Brad mainly because of his kicking game,” Westblade said.
“He’s been with us all year, he hasn’t played a lot I suppose, but has been with us the whole time. He will be good and will do the job.”
Cain was named the best player in the Weissel Cup last season.
He was given a taste of the top grade then, but has enjoyed the challenge of stepping up to seniors this year.
“It has been a lot different to playing the usual age group stuff, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.
“You get to play against a lot more smarter players, learn what it is all about and evolve as a player.
“Working alongside people like Pete Little, Aaron Wynne and Liam Carey has been really good.”
Despite not starting in a lot of his first grade games, the 19-year-old believes it helps him to get straight into the action.
“Coming off the bench I find it difficult to get into the game, but I think starting the game is a lot easier and a lot easier to get my head right,” he said. “You can warm into the game a lot better and I find it a lot easier.”
Westblade is looking for an improved effort after being well beaten by Southcity in their first grand final attempt.
“Play like we did last week and I don’t think we are a show at all,” he said.
“But having said that I think the mood will be different and the boys realise we were certainly below our best and that isn’t good enough.
“It is the last chance so we will see how we go.”
Cain coming into five-eighth isn’t the only change for the Brethren with Keifer Power coming back onto the wing.
Lloyd Bowen is also expected to be alright after sustaining a corked thigh against the Bulls.
Westblade is looking to control the game more this time around.
“They are a big side and if they just roll through us in the middle, like Southcity did, they will just destroy us,” he said.
“I suspect they are aiming to do that so we really need to improve our control of the game.
“We didn’t have any control last week.
“Gundagai will be looking to play fast, roll us through the middle and we have to be able to match them, stop them and give ourselves a bit of a chance.”