Simon Woolford discusses the Queanbeyan Blues chances in the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final

Queanbeyan Blues coach Simon Woolford says his men have put last year's one-point grand final loss away, and have prepared well for Sunday's Canberra Raiders Cup grand final. Photo: Andrew Johnston.

Queanbeyan Blues coach Simon Woolford says his men have put last year's one-point grand final loss away, and have prepared well for Sunday's Canberra Raiders Cup grand final. Photo: Andrew Johnston.

The Queanbeyan Blues will be out to grab their first Canberra Raiders Cup title since 2008 when they take to Seiffert Oval on Sunday against Goulburn.

Queanbeyan Age intern Miles Thompson caught up with coach Simon Woolford to check in on how the team is preparing for the big day.

MT: How is the team going to deal with the pressure of being the grand final favourites?

SW: "There's only one way to deal with it, and that's to prepare well - prepare like we have all year. Our year has been really good.

The boys' attitude towards our footy for the majority of that time has been great.

We just need to make sure it's spot on this week and we have our best preparation yet, because it is a grand final and we need to make sure we're on top of our game."

MT: Has having the extra week off helped the team in that regard?

SW: "I don't think so. We had a week off two weeks ago. As far as injuries are concerned, the week off didn't help us.

It has freshened us up. We've put in a couple of decent training sessions to try and combat not playing but nothing beats the game scenario.

We've had a good week, and we're ready to finish off with a couple of good sessions this week. There'll be no excuses come Sunday."

MT: Looking forward to this weekend, what areas of the game do you think are the Blues' strengths?

SW: "We've got some good size and mobility in our forwards, and we've also got some real speed out wide. In the middle we've got some really creative halves that have got good speed as well.

We're really lucky our side is really well balanced, which is nice to have going into a grand final."

MT: Have you taken a different approach to your coaching this year in any way?

SW: "I wouldn't say we've done everything the same. Last year in the grand final, in the second half, not a lot went our way.

The Roos completed nearly every set they had, we made a couple of errors, we gave a couple of penalties away, and we just weren't at the level where we had been in previous games. I think that's a little bit different this year.

We've warmed to the task as the year has gone on.

Our last four or five games have been pretty good whereas before we were winning ugly.

We've really hit our straps the last couple of rounds leading into the semi-finals so I'm hoping we've timed our run a little bit better than we did last year."

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