THIS is what every team strives for – to earn a place in a grand final.
Two teams who have fought hammer and tong in the Horsham District league will face off for a fourth time this season.
Southern Mallee Giants will take on Harrow-Balmoral in Saturday’s grand final at Horsham City Oval.
Giants coach Shaun Monohan said his team was “up and about”, excited and “a bit nervous” ahead of the game.
“Everyone is keen to get out and into it,” he said.
Giant Lou White will miss the grand final after breaking his leg in the semi-final against the Southern Roos a fortnight ago.
This paves the way for big game player Brock Orval and leader Haydn Drew to return to the game-day playing list.
Monohan said, like every week, the game would be won and lost in the midfield.
“Whoever takes their opportunities will win,” he said.
“This is an exciting week for everyone.
“It is hard work putting a team on the park and I hope we can repay (the Hopetoun and Beulah communities) by getting the job done.
“(Southern Roos’) Eric Guthrie is a star and a hard player to stop, but we can’t just watch him the whole time. Orval is a big game player, he trained (this week) and he was jumping out of his skin.”
Southern Roos coach Paul Cleaver said reaching the big stage was satisfying.
“Two weeks ago (in the semi-final against the Giants) we sort of let our guard down,” he said.
“I think the whole season has been leading up to this clash in the grand final – Giants versus Roos.
“We’re really anticipating a chance to go back and redeem ourselves from two weeks ago and put our best foot forward.”
The Southern Roos demolished Jeparit-Rainbow in the preliminary final 29.13 (187) to 5.8 (38) to earn their place in the grand final.
The Roos came out with all guns blazing against the Storm and continued to pile on scoreboard pressure for the duration of the contest.
Cleaver said his charges showed a different mindset.
“They thought, (let’s) take the game on and if we make mistakes, we make mistakes. Take the risks, play our way, be attacking and that meant we went forward, kicked goals … something we weren’t able to do before,” he said.
The Southern Roos enter the encounter with momentum and form.
“I’m sure the Giants have too… We’re glad we got to play on the weekend and we carry that form in,” Cleaver said.
“The Giants have played one game in three weeks, so I think that might play in our favour a little bit.
“We’re not going to focus on what the Giants do or don’t do – we just need to focus on what we do well and try to do that consistently over the four quarters.”