Panther Party: Penrith v Penrith Senior Mixed Grand Final
The 2020 Senior State Cup saw two Penrith teams go head-to-head for the Championship title in the Senior Mixed Grand Final on Sunday, November 1.
Penrith Oztag Senior Mixed 1 headed comfortably into the Grand Final having ran undefeated all weekend before defending this reign against Tamworth in an 8-3 semi-final win.
After only one loss in the round games, Penrith Senior Mixed 2 fought to the death in a tight semi-final against Port Macquarie, taking out a 10-9 victory.
Come the Grand Final, friendships were set aside and the teams laid their bodies on the line for each other until the final hooter went.
Penrith Senior Mixed 1 were crowned champions after a startling 15-3 win.
Penrith Oztag Licensee, Jamie Howard could not be prouder of the performances of their Senior Mixed teams at State Cup.
“It was very special indeed. Every team goes away to State Cup planning on making the Grand Final, to have both teams make it was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams,” Howard said.
For an association to have two strongly competitive teams in one division is rare. Upon reflecting on the teams’ preparation, Howard put their success down to a combination of factors.
“We have a group of very dedicated players who are committed not only to doing the best they can but are committed to each other,” he said.
“The key to the success of both teams was the Coach of our Senior Mixed 1 team, Jarrod Mostowick,”
“It was his vision that got the team up and running in the first place and he drove and supported the creation of the second team last year. Without his vision, commitment and drive I don’t think either team would have been as successful as they were,” he said.
The strength of Penrith Oztag’s local competitions were also deemed a contributing factor.
“We have a very strong Mixed competition, which has led to our Mixed Rep teams being strong across the board,” Howard said.
“Not only did our Senior Mixed teams finish first and second, but our Mixed Opens team also won and our Mixed 20’s team were Runners Up,” he said.
Howard is confident that the future of Penrith Mixed is bright, with a strong pathway for players to transition through from 20’s all the way to Senior Mixed.
With the tournament postponed due to COVID, teams were deprived of adequate training opportunities. However, the Penrith Senior Mixed teams committed themselves to plenty of joint training sessions and opposed games in the lead up to the tournament.
“It is a credit to both teams that they were able to remain dedicated through such a difficult year,” Howard said.
It is clear that Penrith Oztag pride themselves on their club culture, having always encouraged the involvement of families across their teams.
“Our Senior Mixed 1 team have many players who are family members and there are countless teams in our local competition who are family based,” Howard said.
“When someone plays our sport, we want not just them, but their friends and family to enjoy everything that we have to offer,” he said.
Despite some personnel changes, both teams are set to return for the upcoming 2021 NSW Senior State up in March. With a number of clubs announcing very strong Senior Mixed teams, Penrith Oztag are looking forward to the challenge.