WHEN Aiden Stait and Trae Fitzpatrick stand alongside each other it conjures up memories of the iconic 'The Gladiators' league photo of Norm Provan and Arthur Summons.
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But while the height difference between Stait and Fitzpatrick mirrors that of Provan and Summers and the duo are in their own rights league gladiators, they are not grand final rivals.
Instead they are the pair who will led St Pat's into battle for this Sunday's Western Under 18s grand final against the Nyngan Tigers.
Stait will do it as the imposing prop, Fitzpatrick will do it as the crafty five-eighth. Both will do it will plenty of belief.
It's belief that comes from a 10-game winning streak, but also belief the co-captains had before that charge to the grand final as well.
"I had a lot of belief that if we could stick to our game plan we could make it. At the start of the season we were a bit scrappy, but once we got towards the back end we've come home strong," Fitzpatrick said.
"I had plenty of belief. A lot of people wrote us off and thought we were no chance, but I knew the boys were hungry for it," Stait added.
"Most of us were in last year's 18s, so I knew we could get it done. We've made it to the grand final, now we've got to get it done.
"They're an awesome bunch of guys, they're good to have a laugh with, but when you've got to knuckle down they do it."
On Friday night at the annual Group 10 awards evening, Stait was named joint under 18s player of the year with Bathurst Panthers' halfback Jackson Carter.
The towering front rower, who also got a taste of first grade this year, said the captaincy role helped inspire him to a good season.
"It was good, I didn't really expect it, but I'll take it," he said.
"Sharing leadership with Trae, I thought I didn't want to let the boys down so I had to work a tad harder."
Given the way the pool structure of the Western Under 18s worked this year, St Pat's and Nyngan have not previously played.
The Saints qualified as the third best Group 10-based club. They've survived three weeks of sudden death finals to make it to Sunday's decider, beating Dubbo Macquarie 54-10, Cowra Magpies 22-16 and Bathurst Panthers 18-16.
Nyngan has had a similar path as it qualified as the third best Group 11 side. The Tigers have beaten Lithgow Workies 38-14, Forbes Magpies 22-12 and Dubbo CYMS 18-17 during their finals campaign.
Fitzpatrick knows first-hand the threat posed by Nyngan's Cooper Black - who has scored six tries and kicked 11 goals over the past three weeks - given he goes to school with the talented Tiger.
But while shutting down Black is a priority, Fitzpatrick thinks the key for the Saints is for them to work for, and trust, each other.
"We just need to stick to our game plan, work through our sets and not get frustrated with each other I guess," he said.
"We've got to believe in ourselves."
Stait agrees with that sentiment and has also given his side the underdogs tag. But he points out they'll have more than just Saints cheering them on this Sunday.
"I'd like to say we're the underdogs because we've handled the underdog thing pretty well," he said.
"Dubbo CYMS and Forbes have said they'll be coming to cheer for us, the Forbes boys are talking about clapping us out too."
The under 18s grand final will kick-off at 1.25pm at Dubbo's Apex Oval.
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