THERE’S a rarity for North Wales Crusaders this weekend... they will take on play-off opponents they’ve already beaten in League 1 this season!

In an epic run in the play-offs, Carl Forster’s Crusaders have claimed away wins at Workington Town, Oldham and Hunslet.

This has booked a grand final meeting on Sunday against Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium and Crusaders’ upturn in fortune began with a 28-22 success at home to their final opponents at the start of August.

Pat Rainford, Chris Barratt, Ryan Ellis and Leon Hayes grabbed the tries for Cru and this success has been the catalyst for the stunning end-of-season form.

“It obviously gives us self-belief,” said Cru player-coach Forster. “For me, Doncaster are the second best side in the league.

“When we played them at their place, it was the best footballing side we have played all year.”

Crusaders’ latest success came at Hunslet, who ended the regular season in second position.

Rob Massam and Matt Reid grabbed first half tries as the North Wales side reached the break 14-12 to the good.

Cru fell behind for the first time when Adam Ryder scored a 56th minute try, however Kieran Taylor’s unconverted try made it 18-18 with a dozen minutes left.

Owain Abel nudged Crusaders a point clear with a drop goal five minutes from time and then it was Cole Oakley’s turn to take centre stage with a late try.

Performances after the break have been key to the side’s success over recent weeks and Crusaders hold a combined 42-6 advantage in the second half versus their play-off opponents.

Asked if this was down to fitness or game management, Forster said: “It’s a bit of everything.

“At the start of the season, I was questioning the lads on their fitness.

“The lads responded really well to the adversity. Toby Hughes has played five and he’s won all five and he’s come in and settled the ship.”

Crusaders’ fans once more played their part as the team booked its place in the grand final.

“It was like a home game in terms of the noise they made,” added Forster.

“It’s good to put a smile on their faces winning these games.

“We have had some good away days and we’ve got one more to go.”

Meanwhile, skipper Callum Hazzard is delighted with North Wales Crusaders’ run in the League 1 play-offs and he says the players are in confident mood ahead of their tricky away encounters.

He told the club’s website: “I don’t see why we can’t beat anyone. Again, we’ll go in as underdogs from the outside, but in our camp we’ll be happy and confident.

“If we can play well, we know we can go toe-to-toe with the best.”