HARROW-BALMORAL will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky when its reserves side lines up on Saturday.
The team has finished as minor premiers – and undefeated in the home and away season – in the reserves competition the past two seasons, but went out of the finals series in straight sets in both 2016 and 2017.
Jeparit-Rainbow’s reserves side meanwhile made the finals for the first time this year since their club entered the Horsham District league.
The team took a direct path to the grand final when they beat the Southern Roos in a semi-final two weeks ago.
This relegated Harrow-Balmoral to a preliminary final showdown against Natimuk United last week, which they won by two goals to advance to the big dance.
Southern Roos coach Nathan Neumann said applying a lot of pressure early and playing team football would be keys for his team if it were to break through for a premiership.
“In our wins against them during the year we stuck to our structures well and had a consistent four quarters, and we worked well as a team,” he said.
“The finals pressure just got to us a few weeks ago.”
Neumann said many players within his side had played in finals – including some who had played in both winning and losing grand finals. He hopes this experience will help the team come Saturday, where the club will also contest the senior grand final.
“It's fantastic having both sides in – the feeling around the club is great,” Neumann said.
“It’s just a good place to be at the moment.
“Everyone is up and about and ready to go.”
Storm coach Marcus Hiscock said his side would take a fair bit of confidence from its six-point win against the Southern Roos in the semi-final.
“It was a pretty good game, and we played better for majority of the game,” he said.
“We really played a good strong team game – everyone was up and about right from the start.
“We let Harrow-Balmoral get the first couple of goals, but then we got some back and managed to play our game.”
Hiscock said he would be looking to some of his older players to set the standard for the team in the grand final.
“A lot of them have finals experience, some from playing in a grand final with Jeparit-Rainbow in 2009 and a few who have played at other clubs,” he said.
“We have guys who have played a lot of senior football, and we will be calling on them to lead the way and hopefully get us over the line.”