Springwood’s Tom Eisenhuth’s veins will be filled with adrenalin as he runs onto the ANZ Stadium pitch with his Windsor Wolves team- mates this Sunday for their NSW Cup grand final clash against the Cronulla Sharks.
The 21-year-old utility earned his stripes on the Wolves’ bench for the big game after showing great consistency throughout his debut season at NSW Cup level. He made a typically strong contribution in the back row during their close 36-32 semi-final win against the Newcastle Knights at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, September 29.
Eisenhuth told the Gazette that qualifying for the grand final was something the team had spoken about in the locker room before the season began.
“We started the season strongly, in the middle we sort of got a bit too comfortable, but were able to pick things up again to win the last six games in a row,” he said.
“We’re a tight knit group, everyone is a good team player here and I think that’s definitely been a key factor in our success.
“Last Sunday we had a good game plan and were confident if we got into the grind, they (Newcastle) would back down and become vulnerable.
“For the first half they had all the ball, but we were still able to lead by eight at half-time.
“We got good go-forward in the second half and felt we would be able to hold our lead and we did.”
But while Tom is the only Eisenhuth who will play in the grand final, his brother Alan (a Penrith resident) and cousin Matt (who lives in Parramatta) played a handful of games for them during the regular season before injuries struck.
Last week Alan was named the Wolves’ Best and Fairest Player of the Year.
His younger brothers, Luke and Ryan, play A Grade and the U12s for Lower Mountains Rugby League respectively.
“It’s been good to play with Alan and Matt this year because it’s pretty rare to be able to play alongside family. They are pretty happy with what the team has achieved.
“My little brother Ryan is very supportive and eggs me on a bit — he keeps saying I should score more tries!”
Eisenhuth said being part of such a strong Wolves squad — boasting the likes of regular Panthers first graders Matt Moylan, Wes Naiqama, Travis Robinson, Nathan Smith and Anthony Cherrington — has been invaluable.
“There is a lot of experience in this team and I’ve learnt so much from so many of the players.
“I’ve been pretty much slotting into whatever position the team needs me to be in each week.”
The former Lower Mountains junior and Toyota Cup player said the Wolves can take a lot of confidence on grand final day from beating the Sharks a fortnight ago.
“But they are a strong team who will be up for it so it will be a good challenge for us.
“I think playing in the Junior Kangaroos tour last year was an amazing experience for me, but this Sunday will be right up there.
“That tour and the NRL match I played for the Panthers [in Auckland last August] will help me to some extent with managing any nerves, but having a few nerves out there is probably a good thing because it will get me pumped up.”
The NSW Cup grand final starts at 1.30pm on Sunday and will be broadcast live on Channel Nine.