A SPOT in the Horsham District league grand final will be up for grabs when Harrow-Balmoral meets Kalkee at Natimuk on Saturday.
The league’s top two sides have played each other twice this season with the Southern Roos winning both encounters.
Harrow-Balmoral dominated their most recent clash in round 13 at Kalkee, winning by nine goals.
Southern Roos coach Nick Pekin said he wasn’t looking too much into that encounter.
“They had a couple of outs so we can’t take too much from that game and there will be two different sides out there this weekend,” he said.
“We will have to adapt early because it’s meant to be wet and get off to a good start.
“Kalkee are going to be making some noise, as Stuart Farr said, but hopefully we will have our first full side for the season. We have everyone available, which will put a lot of pressure on the coaches.”
Kalkee’s Simon Hobbs and Hamish Exell make up part of a formidable Kees midfield line-up. Pekin said it would be a group effort in stopping Kalkee’s run through the centre of the ground.
“It’s going to be an overall effort from our midfield to stop their midfield run and carry. We will have our match-ups but we need to be more accountable than them on the day,” he said.
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As the Southern Roos head into another finals campaign, Pekin said the side’s leaders would look to guide the team into a grand final berth after two consecutive grand final losses.
“Both my assistants Simon Close and Hamish Ellis will lead the way,” he said.
“Michael Phelan has been around a bit and will hold it down back, along with Anthony Close up forward. A few of the older heads will guide the likes of the younger boys such as Hamish McCrae and Harrison Rees.
“There’s been talk and noise around that issue of losing two grand finals, but we aren’t there yet and need to take it week by week. We would like next week off, we wouldn’t knock that back.”
Kalkee co-coach Stuart Farr said there was no pressure on his side going into the game.
“They are red-hot favourites and deserve to be so,” he said.
“We have no pressure at all going into the game and we are going to throw everything at them and see where we end up. We fell quite short last time but I think we have improved since then.
“They have some great players and to be a great side you need 21 contributors and they have that week in week out, so we will be treating everyone with the same respect.”
Gun Kalkee forward Lachie Exell missed the last encounter between the two sides.
“Lachie will be playing and he is huge to how we structure up,” Farr said.
“He has played forward and back in the second half of the season because he is such a strong mark. We want to attack though and hopefully they have to make changes to slow us down. We don’t want to go in with a negative mindset.”
Kalkee will have to wait on the fitness of a couple of players, but Farr said there would be no injury excuses come Saturday.