By Kate Withers (AFL Victoria)
South Colac has shaken a three-year curse to win through to the grand final of the Colac and District Football League against Birregurra this Saturday.
After three consecutive preliminary final losses, the Roos finally earned that elusive grand final berth with a win over reigning premiers Simpson last week.
South Colac coach Tim Foley said his team was determined to rectify the ledger against Birregurra in the decider.
“We’re certainly underdogs, but we’re not there to make up numbers,” Foley said. “From 10 teams we’re down to two, and we’ve got as much chance of winning as Birregurra.”
The sides met twice during season 2016 and were split on one win apiece before Birregurra reclaimed bragging rights with a 36-point win in the semi-final.
Unperturbed by the Roos most recent loss, Foley said a promising first half against Birregurra in the semi-final bodes well for his side.
“Our pressure in the first half (of the semi final) was really good, but in the second half we dropped off and didn’t use the footy well going forward, and we turned the ball over a lot.
“We beat them (Birregurra) in Round 15, so we go into this weekend with some confidence.”
The Saints boast seven senior finals appearances in the last eight years, including four grand final berths and a flag against South Colac in 2011.
Birregurra playing coach Ben Boseley said the Saints’ are expecting another fiery encounter in the 2011 rematch this weekend.
“You can never underestimate them (South Colac),” said Boseley. “They’re a very good team and they’re coached really well.
“We have to limit their strengths, and play our own game at the same time. Their midfield is really strong with Tim Speers and Jake O’Dwyer, who are really dynamic and crucial players for them.”
While Boseley admits the Saints midfield is a source of danger for Birre, he says the Roos’ own midfield stocks run deep.
“We’ve got a really strong midfield. We’ve got seven or eight players that rotate through there at any time, so we’re definitely going to be looking to that midfield group to stand up this weekend.”
Despite making seven finals appearances in the last eight years for a single flag, Boseley maintains there are no expectations ahead of Saturday’s grand final.
“We never really expect to win a flag, but we will always give ourselves the best opportunity.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in a few myself, and it’s always about whoever settles the best in a grand final. We’ve had some really good tousles with South Colac over the years, and I’m sure Saturday will be no different.”
Equally excited for another classic duel, Foley says the well-rounded Roos are ready to take the next step.
“I think we’ve got some depth there that we haven’t had in previous years. Even our bottom six players can really feed our top line players so hopefully that will help get us over the line.
“In saying that, it’s also about enjoying the week and making sure we don’t play the grand final before we actually take the field at 2:30pm on Saturday.”
South Colac takes on Birregurra in the Colac and Districts grand final this Saturday, September 10 at 2:15pm at Central Reserve.