Dyldam Parramatta Eels Under 20s coach Justin Holbrook says the young Eels are confident as they prepare to face the Broncos on the 'big stage' in the Holden Cup Finals series.
After a strong finish to the season with a 50-10 win over the Raiders in Round 26, Holbrook says having their fair share of tight losses in the weeks leading to the finals has helped prepare his players for this week's qualifying final in Townsville.
"I think we are in a good shape to play well," Holbrook said.
"It was a good win against the Raiders, and previously we only just got beaten against Newcastle and I don’t think we played too well as lot of things went against us."
"That can probably help us move forward, knowing that if we don’t play well in the big games, we’re going to get beaten. And then the weekend was important to have a really good win so we are going in with some confidence this week."
With the Eels' NRL side narrowly missing out on a finals berth, both Kelepi Tanginoa and Kaysa Pritchard return to the side boasting NRL experience, and five-eighth Ryan Matterson heads into the first finals match with several games of NSW cup under his belt. For Holbrook, the additions to his line up will be a “massive boost” for the Blue and Gold.
The third-placed Eels face the second-placed Broncos this weekend, and Holbrook says taking on a top two side brings additional pressure.
"When you make the top four, you need your whole team playing well," Holbrook said.
"We need all 17 players to play really well up in Townsville to beat the Broncos.”
Saturday's game - originally scheduled for Sydney's Allianz Stadium - has been shifted to Townsville, and while the young Eels have performed strongly in Queensland this season, bringing home two wins from three matches North of the border, Holbrook is predicting a tough encounter.
"We played [the Broncos] a long time ago, back in round 5 so that’s over 20 weeks ago now," Holbrook said.
"I mean it’s great that we have beaten them, but even then that was only right at the start. They’re a very good side so we need to play well."
The NYC Eels will take on the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday, September 13, at Townsville's 1300SMILES Stadium. Kick off is at 5.15pm.