BEFORE the current Horsham District league season started, the towns of Edenhope and Apsley weren’t sure what their football team would look like or where it would compete this season.
Now, the Saints are just one game away from featuring in a senior grand final.
The Saints toppled Jeparit-Rainbow and now faces Kalkee on Saturday at Quantong.
Edenhope-Apsley coach Chris Oliver said his team had learnt throughout the season how to play well together.
“It’s been gradual and as the season has gone on the belief has built in the boys,” he said.
“Now we are at the business end of the season and doing so well everyone has come together really well. We’ve had to fill a lot of positions with different blokes throughout the season and getting guys to be comfortable around the ground. We don’t rely on too many blokes individually.
“Ever since the Swifts game the feeling has been getting better and better and we have that belief that we can go all the way.”
Oliver said the feeling was great around the club at the moment, with the A Grade netball team also playing in a preliminary final at the weekend.
“We have probably exceeded our own expectations as a senior football team but the netball is travelling pretty well too so the club is up and about and everyone is getting together,” he said.
Kalkee co-coach Stuart Farr witnessed the Saints win on Sunday and said the side was hard to stop when they had a roll on.
“In the first quarter they were very sharp and their foot skills were quite impressive,” he said.
“They controlled the football for the whole first quarter and showed a bit of grit to hold on. It will be a tough challenge for us.”
Farr’s side trailed the Southern Roos by a few goals after quarter time in their semi-final clash on Saturday.
He said a solid start would be necessary this weekend.
“It’s no surprise that both teams who were winning by a few goals after the first quarter in both finals won and it’s hard to play catch-up,” he said.
“You need to be ahead of the game after that first quarter.
“We put Saturday’s game to bed quickly. We spoke about it but we are looking forward to hopefully playing in a grand final and we haven’t lost any confidence. We need to get the ball out to our runnners and move the ball quickly.”
Oliver expected a tough test from a Kalkee side that finished second on the ladder this season.
“They are a step above and are fit, young and quick so we will have to take it up a notch this week,” he said.
“We matched up with them okay last time but discipline was an issue for us then, so we will be focusing on that this week.
“We just need to keep playing as a team so our opposition won’t know how to match-up on us.”
Clint Rokebrand could return for the Saints after a one-week suspension, while Bart Nolan could return after breaking his leg earlier in the season.
Kalkee will be forced to make at least one change after defender Daniel Launer suffered a serious shoulder injury in the opening stages of Saturday’s semi-final.