UPDATE AUGUST 26: The Griffith University Colleges Knights Rugby Union Club bravely went down to the Surfers Paradise Dolphins 42-12 in the grand final today.
Injuries took their toll on the Knights as they battled the undefeated minor premiers in the Gold Coast District Rugby Union competition, managing to stay within reach at half time with a 16-7 score line. The third grade side was also gallant in defeat after losing 10-26 to the Eagles.
Despite the loss, Knights President Phil Verheijen hailed a great season for the club for making the grand final appearance against the year’s undisputed premiers.
The Griffith University Colleges Knights Rugby Union Club is heading into a milestone grand final at Southport this weekend as the underdog ready to win.
It has been 20 years since the club’s first grade side won a Gold Coast District Rugby Union grand final and the first time in 13 years they have had a shot at the premiership.
To win this Saturday, the third-placed Knights, guided by head coach Graham Herlihy, have to overcome this season’s minor premiers, the undefeated Surfers Paradise Dolphins.
According to President Phil Verheijen, the Knights are well up to the challenge and will take to the field with few injury concerns.
“We’ll be fielding a much stronger side than we’ve had throughout the year, with just a couple of injuries at most,” he said.
“There’s no denying we’re the underdogs. The Knights had two losses this season to Surfers Paradise, both of them by close margins, but the current grand final team line-up hasn’t played Surfers Paradise before and we give ourselves every chance.”
Mr Verheijen said the Knights, now the biggest senior club on the Gold Coast, have sharpened their focus in the past year, aided by Griffith University signing a new six-year partnership in 2015.
Under the agreement, the Knights introduced new club branding featuring the Griffith University logo and changed their traditional green and gold colours to red.
“It’s given us a new sense of identity ad reaffirmed to the community who we are and what we are about,” said Mr Verheijen.
“We’re a young club because Griffith University students make up a large part of our player population. We’re also a close club as well.”
The Knights, originally known as the Colleges, were formed in 1987 as part of a joint venture with the College of Advanced Education, which later became Griffith University and Gold Coast TAFE.
The club, which is based at Ashmore, changed its name to Griffith Uni Colleges in 2008 and now boasts over 120 senior men and women playing members.
Mr Verheijen said this Saturday’s grand final would be a big event for the club, with the third-grade side also vying for finals honours against the Gold Coast Eagles.
“It’s a special day for the club, and especially for the players. A grand final game is something a lot of people in their careers never achieve.
“It’s something special for our club and a reward for a lot of effort put in over the years by the players and coaching staff.”
The grand finals kick off at 11:30am this Saturday (August 27) at the Gold Coast Eagles home ground, James Overell Park, at Southport, with the first grade game kicking off at 3pm.