Gundagai are looking to end their grand final run of outs against Southcity after earning their way to a fourth consecutive grand final appearance.
The Tigers set up a rematch of the 2016 and 2017 deciders with a big win over Brothers in the preliminary final at Equex Centre on Sunday.
Gundagai roared into the grand final with a 36-12 win over the Brethren, who bowed out of the finals with successful heavy defeats.
Captain-coach James Smart was pleased to earn another shot at the Bulls.
“It’s a reward for all the work we have put in,” Smart said.
Gundagai dominated possession and field position as Brothers struggled to make the most of any of their chances.
Damian Willis scored after eight minutes to get the ball rolling for the Tigers before a flat pass from Tyron Gorman put James Curgenven into space 40 out and he scored.
Willis completed a first half double to give the Tigers a 16-0 lead at half-time.
Gundagai couldn’t have asked for a better start to season start when Luke Berkrey charged down a kick and picked the ball up to score after 43 seconds.
Brothers responded as Brady Collins dove over two minutes later to get his side on the board.
However Gundagai didn’t let their Wagga rivals get a whiff of a comeback as Berkrey and Curgenven both went over for their second tries of the game.
It was something that pleased Smart.
“Our goal line defence was good, our scramble was good and even early in the second half, when they got some points on us, we managed to get back on top,” he said.
“In the past we’ve probably been guilty of once a team scored against us it has been hard to peg back.
“But I thought the boys did a really good job there.”
Noa Fotu extended their lead to 30 points when he scored in the corner.
Captain Connor McCauley went over for a consolation effort for Brothers but they we’ve left to rue what could have been.
Smart was happy with how they controlled the contest.
“We spoke about turning over the footy where we wanted to turn it over, we knew Brothers had a big forward pack and we had to make sure we completed well,” he said. “If we made a lot of errors or give them a lot of breaks it would have played into their hands, but we completed fairly well.”
Gundagai lost four of their first six games as they struggled to keep the same side on the field, but won seven of their last eight to storm into another grand final.
They’ve been in six of the last eight deciders, but only have the one victory so far.
It’s something Smart is looking to change as he prepares to hand over the reins following the second of two three-year coaching stints.
Standing in their way is a Bulls outfit they are yet to beat this season.
It is going to be a big challenge, but Smart knows the team will be up for it at Equex Centre on Sunday.
“Obviously it is a big job ahead of us, we certainly know how good they are and they are the benchmark for a reason,” he said.