Queanbeyan player Roy Jaques takes a mark on Saturday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Queanbeyan Tigers coach Kade Klemke isn't the only one who believes his team can beat the Sydney Swans reserves in Saturday's NEAFL eastern conference grand final.
He received the backing of vanquished counterpart Anthony Bourke in the aftermath of Eastlake's 28-point loss to the Tigers in Saturday's preliminary final at Manuka Oval.
Little more than a week ago, the Tigers lost to the Swans by 55 points but Klemke said he still believed his young side could knock off the AFL reserves team in the grand final this weekend.
He reiterated that belief to his charges in the sheds after beating the Demons and received the backing of Eastlake coach Bourke.
Bourke was in the crowd for the Tigers-Swans semi-final and felt the first half of that match indicated Queanbeyan could match it with a Sydney team dominated by professional footballers.
The Swans led by just six points at half-time against the Tigers and at times appeared rattled by the manic tackling pressure their opponents were able to muster - opponents who spend their week working as plumbers or teachers and not training full-time like they do.
At that point the Tigers led by 15 points and an upset win was on the cards.
But the Swans were able to arrest the momentum and ran away with the game in the second half.
It was that first half that impressed Bourke.
''I reckon they can [beat the Swans],'' he told The Canberra Times.
''I watched them play their first half last week and I was super impressed with them.
''They worked so hard for each other [and] used the ball cleanly.
''The problem with Sydney is when [Queanbeyan] had those few turnovers towards the end of the second quarter and then into the third Sydney just capitalised.''
The Tigers attended a recovery session at the Queanbeyan pool yesterday morning and now Klemke will set about planning to overcome the 55-point deficit between the clubs from the semi.
Queanbeyan captain Ryan Quade said the team believed in Klemke's vision.
He credited his playing-coach, who was on the rookie list with AFL club Essendon, with instilling a new level of professionalism around the club that had bred a belief amongst the playing group.
''Kade and the news guys have come along and they've had belief all year and that's really shown,'' Quade said.
''There's no game where I've felt like we haven't been able to win, no matter who it's been against, and those guys don't know any different.
''They're used to winning and we've got a winning culture here and it really shows.''
NEAFL Eastern Conference, grand final: Sydney Swans reserves v Queanbeyan Tigers, at Manuka Oval, 2pm.