YOUNG GUN: Roma Cities' captain Matt Waites knows the biggest test for his young Gladiators is ahead of them in the finals series.
YOUNG GUN: Roma Cities' captain Matt Waites knows the biggest test for his young Gladiators is ahead of them in the finals series. Tom Gillespie

Improved attitude behind Roma Cities' incredible 2016

RUGBY LEAGUE: They might have won three minor premierships and the RDRL Club Championship already in 2016, but Roma Cities A-grade captain Matt Waites isn't finished just yet.

One of the competition's youngest senior captains will be hoping his youth brigade lifts the Gladiators to their first top-level premiership since 2004.

This season has already been Roma Cities' best in years, with A-grade, Reserve Grade and under-18s all claiming the minor premierships and dropping just five games between them.

But Waites, who took over the captaincy last year at the tender age of 20, knows the bigger test lies ahead.

"For the last two years, there's been a change in the club - we really want to win this premiership,” he said.

"We'll have (representative stars) Ronny Willett, Zac Downey and Brendan Grulke fit for the finals, so having those guys up the middle will be good for us.”

That Gladiators have improved every year since 2013, reaching the preliminary finals in 2014 and the grand final last season.

But while Chinchilla are the defending premiers and St George proved their attacking prowess this year, Waites said there was one side that always worried him.

"Red Bulls - they know how to grind a game out,” he said.

"St George are another team you don't want to play in the finals, because they're unpredictable, but the Bulls just know how to grind matches out.”

But the 21-year-old said he had faith in his troops to get the job done, mainly due to the shift in attitude during training and matches.

"We've been all positive right now and our only losses have been by two points or so,” he said.

"We kept it simple this year and the main thing has been our attitude.

"That means making sure everyone's putting in the effort at training and during the game.”

Roma Cities play Chinchilla in the A-grade and under-18s, and the Red Bulls in Reserve Grade next Sunday at Bassett Park. The under-16s play St George this weekend.


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