CHAMPIONS: Tweed Seagulls under-18s won the Mal Meninga Cup in a pulsating grand final.
CHAMPIONS: Tweed Seagulls under-18s won the Mal Meninga Cup in a pulsating grand final. SMP Images

History against Tweed in under-18 league final

RUGBY LEAGUE: The best under-18 side in the country is going to be decided Sunday morning, when the Mal Meninga Cup champions face-off with the NSW premiers.

After holding off a fast-finishing Wynnum-Manly, Tweed Seagulls will represent Queensland Rugby League in this weekend's national championship game against Illawarra.

Tweed coach Tim McCann said his side, still on a high after winning the Mal Meninga Cup, was excited to take the field this weekend to claim ultimate bragging rights.

"The boys were very happy after the game and we're very proud of their achievement,” McCann said.

"The fact they get to play one more game together has them excited.

"You don't get many chances to be a national champion in this game so it's a big challenge and they still need to stay focused.”

Tweed will go into the game as underdogs, a position they feel comfortable with, as NSW sides have a strong history in the national final.

Only once has a team representing the QRL won the national final since its inception in 2009.

This was when the Townsville Stingers, with future Queensland Maroon Coen Hess, defeated the Sydney Roosters 36-16 in 2014.

McCann said his side knew they were up against history but he believed in his team.

"At this level the NSW competition is often seen as the more elite competition and I can't remember the last time a QRL team won this match,” McCann said.

"However with the game being in Queensland and the Steelers having to travel for the first time via plane, that might even out the odds.”

McCann said this week had been a normal training week for the squad.

The coach said his side was focusing on making sure they produced a clean performance on Sunday at Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe.

"Big games are won by teams that play for one another and work harder than the other team,” he said.

"Nothing fancy, just tough.

"We will watch some footage and identify those areas we need to be better at and hopefully transfer that onto the field one last time.

"Hopefully they can do this and make the most of this rare opportunity.”

Kick-off for the national final will be at 11am on Sunday.