Magpies out to finally end a 25-year premiership drought
THE WEIGHT of history and expectation following a minor premiership campaign sits firmly on the shoulders of the Magpies ahead of this weekend's under-19s grand final.
Bring it on, says coach Daniel Davis.
For the first time since 2008, the Magpies are in the hunt to win an U19 premiership; before then it was 2001. Both were losses.
You have to go back to 1994, before any of the current crop were even born, for the last time the club tasted premiership success in the 19s.
The playing group wasn't aware of the historical significance of their feats until Davis told them at training last week.
"For the majority of our side it's the first time they've played in a senior footy final. They're all new to it," Davis said.
For the young Magpies, a senior grand final is uncharted territory.
The same cannot be said for first-year coach Davis.
The 2016 Magpies A-grade premiership winner hopes to pass on his finals experience to his playing group.
His message to the team this week was simple: stick to the processes.
"Stay composed. Don't change anything. Don't do anything different to what's worked for us all year," Davis said.
"If something does go wrong, get back to basics. Encourage each other and enjoy the moment.
"That's the big thing. Enjoy the moment."
Davis is going to let himself enjoy the moment.
He never anticipated reaching a grand final in his first season in charge, although he knew he had a talented team at his disposal.
Changing teams, not colours
SPARE a thought for Toby Thorburn, Bailey Black and Hugh Arthur - the Magpies trio backing up from their U17 grand final for a second shot at glory.
Or don't. Because any pain they endure will be worth the ultimate premiership prize.
"They play two games and train four times a week. It's a big achievement for them and a massive weekend," Davis said of the talented trio.
Thorburn is no stranger to big games. The St Patrick's College student led his school to a Confraternity Plate victory in Bundaberg earlier this year. He is a Northern Marlins regular and Davis's swiss army knife of a utility.
Arthur comes from the bench and fills a hole whenever and wherever he is required; one of those "just gets the job done" types that underpins premiership-winning teams.
Five-eighth Black filled in for the 19s in Round 1 and never left.
"A great kid to coach and I think we'll see him somewhere (bigger) in the future, hopefully," Davis said.
Then there is captain courageous, Declan Laird.
"He'll be the player; the one to lead these boys," Davis said.
"He's a big reason we're where we are now and he'll be the one to lead these young fellas right the way through."
For all his finals experience, Davis is almost more nervous as a coach then he was a player.
"I haven't got the words. I just hope it comes off," he said.
"It's hard to say anything at the moment. All I know is I'm so proud of where we've gotten to already."