THEY ARE unbeaten in league matches for almost two years, but today is when it all counts for West Yorkshire’s top community team.
Hunslet Club Parkside face West Hull at Featherstone Rovers’ LD Nutrition Stadium in the National Conference Premier Division Grand Final (3.05pm).
Victory for the south Leeds side would cap a remarkable four seasons and an historic campaign.
Since stepping up from the Pennine League, Parkside have gone through the Conference divisions as champions in successive years – and they won all 22 league matches this term.
Hunslet prop Jamie Fields recalled: “We joined in Division Three and lost one game in that.
“We lost two games in Division Two and in Division One we lost our fourth game of the season to Normanton at home and we haven’t been beaten since.
“This has been a big year for us and we never anticipated this when we were setting out at the start of the year.
“We have taken it one game at a time and that has got us to where we are now. We are mega-excited, but we know we’ve got another massive task against a good West Hull side.”
West Hull were second in the table, 14 points behind Parkside.
Hunslet beat them in the semi-finals two weeks ago, but Fields stressed they are taking nothing for granted.
“We’ve not beaten them by more than 10 points in the three games we’ve had,” he warned.
“They are pretty much the best of the rest in every department.
“They are very well-drilled in D [defence] and attack and we’ll have to be at our best to get a result.”
Playing at Featherstone will suit Parkside, who have past experience of the ground from previous finals, but ring rust could be a problem after two weeks without a game.
Coached by Paul McShane, Hunslet are well aware a dominant season will count for nothing if they slip up on the big day.
McShane was a member of the Castleford Tigers side who topped Betfred Super League by 10 points last year only to come unstuck in the Grand Final.
“We’ve spoken about it,” Fields confirmed.
“The 22 games in the league are done.
“That’s in the bank. You are ultimately judged on the Grand Final and if we don’t win it will not have been a successful season.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles, you have got to win the big games to make it count.”
He added: “Paul’s desperate for it not to happen to us.
“To fall at the final hurdle would be catastrophic, it doesn’t bear thinking about after all the hard work we’ve put in. We just have to be at our best.”
Dual-code star Jason Robinson, patron of Hunslet Club, presented the team with their Grand Final jerseys.
Parkside expect to be at full-strength with Liam Thompson and Kieran Murphy having recovered from knocks picked up in the semi-final and George Clarke available after work commitments.