NEVER PHASED: Daniel Roos' level-headed approach on the sideline is a big reason his team are contesting a grand final today, says Rugby League Ipswich chairman David Nugent.
NEVER PHASED: Daniel Roos' level-headed approach on the sideline is a big reason his team are contesting a grand final today, says Rugby League Ipswich chairman David Nugent. David Nielsen

No coincidence Newton, Roos face off in grand final

THEY are often the first blamed for a loss, and the last lauded in victory.

Mick Newton and Daniel Roos' influence on their respective sides ahead of today's Rugby League Ipswich A-Grade grand final should not be understated, says RLI chairman David Nugent.

"I've been around football long enough to realise they really set the tone for the behaviour of the group," Nugent said.

"I've always used the phrase, 'the tone is set by the coach'. If the coach carries on like a pelican, the players will and the crowd will as well.

"If the coach is calm, content and well-prepared, the team shows no signs of anxiety. They're able to go about their business.

"Sometimes - and we see it a lot in junior footy - coaches are wound up so tight, when the kids lose they end up in tears."

Nugent believes it is no coincidence the two coaches left standing come grand final day are two who rarely let their emotions get the better of them.

"The experience of guys like Mick Newton and Daniel Roos, they'll have a great impact on how their team reacts to certain situations (today)," Nugent said.

"I'd be taking Mick Newton's pulse to make sure he's alive at some stages. He never carries on."

Norths have embraced underdog status all through the finals series.

Few outside their four walls give the Tigers a realistic chance at upsetting the Fassifern juggernaut.

But Norths have continued to surprise even Nugent in recent weeks, to the point he is hesitant to go against them.

"It's been a bit of a slow burn hasn't it?" Nugent mused.

"(Newton) has been trying to build to a crescendo - to the grand final - since March, and I think a lot of people didn't see it coming. I didn't until recently.

"It's been bubbling away in the background - win a couple, lose a couple. Then they hit Brothers fair in the nose, and did the same to Swifts."

Roos was forced to take a more hands-on approach this season than he would have liked.

The Fassifern coach pulled on the boots for two matches at the start of the season, as the Bombers struggled for numbers prior to their international recruits arriving.

"He trusted the process," Nugent said.

"He knew the reinforcements were coming - he and (president) Kent West have been getting these players over for a number of years now.

"(Roos) had to encourage his team to stay calm, and he did that."

It is not just Roos and Newton who have been key catalysts this season.

In Reserve Grade, first-year Brothers coach Steve O'Connell "made it feel like home" according to one of his senior players.

Goodna Colts coach Justin Swyney "had a big hand in the development of young people", from Nugent's perspective.

"Win, lose or draw, he's done a fantastic job," Nugent said.

"He and his wife Leanne; they don't have a child in this team.

"Justin has pushed them up a hill to get to this point. They've had their success going through, he has helped produce some really strong teams."

Brothers Colts coach Darryl Squires is another whose sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.

"In Squires' case, the family has said, 'Dad has a special skill he should share with others, so we'll do without him for Monday, Wednesday and Sunday," Nugent said.

"For the likes of Justin, Leanne and Darryl, it's a big contribution to our community to give so much time to something where your family can suffer."

These are but a few examples of the fantastic work of coaches across RLI's many junior and senior competitions.

Today is a celebration not just of the outstanding achievements of the players, but also coaches, volunteers, and all of the dedicated clubmen and women who have similarly sacrificed their time to get to this point.

"To the ones stacking the pie warmer at 6.30am on a Saturday, or taking goalpost pads off at 9.30pm, it's as much about them as well," Nugent said.