Sunbury United Tigers will have to take the long way to the NRL Victoria first grade grand final.
The Tigers, who finished the regular season in second place, are hoping to make the most of their second chance after falling just short against Werribee Bears on Saturday.
Tigers coach Terry Constantinou said the game against the Bears was their’s for the taking, but they couldn’t get the job done, losing 18-16.
“I thought we were going to come home with it,” Constantinou said.
“Werribee got off to a decent start and scored two tries. We scored just on half-time.
“It was good for us going into the sheds.
“Most of the time against Werribee in the second half we’ve come back at them. We’re capable of coming back.
“A few things didn’t go our way and we had the wind, rain and hail, making it harder to chase.”
The Tigers missed a conversion kick in the last minute which would have levelled the scores.
Constantinou said Liam Headon in the middle was one of the standouts.
“He is tough and never makes a mistake.”
Constantinou said despite the setback, their season is nowhere near finished.
This week they take on Casey Warriors in a preliminary final. The Warriors defeated Waverley Oakleigh Panthers 10-6 in the other semi-final.
“We said at the start of the season that we wanted to have the opportunity to play in the first versus second final,” Constantinou said.
“The job is only half done.
“We take on Casey … we played them two weeks ago. They’ve got some tough footy behind them and we’re not expecting an easy win.
“It’ll be a very tough game and we know we have to go the long way round.”
The Tigers reserves side also lost to the Bears, 34-16.
In a bonus for the Tigers, the preliminary finals are being held at Sunbury.