THE modern rivalry between Sale City and Yarram will be taken up a notch on Saturday in Traralgon.
The North Gippsland senior football grand final, Yarram’s first since joining the league four years ago, promises to be one for the ages.
In round 13, when the teams last met, Yarram won by a single point after a contentious decision in the final seconds of the game.
Yarram finished the season as minor premier, with the league best-and-fairest, Griffin Underwood, and leading goal kicker Corbin Sutherland.
Despite these strengths, the Sale City team is tough to beat — apart from losing to Heyfield three times this season, Yarram is the only other team to win against the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are coming off a strong win against Heyfield in last week’s preliminary final, which had plenty of thrills, and president David Monash said it was good to see the team playing well together.
“We’re looking forward to a magnificent game, it’ll be epic,” he said.
“The great thing about Sale City this year has been their co-ordination and work as a team, where all players contribute.”
This was the first time in the club’s history all its teams had finished in the top three.
Monash said the seniors team was at full strength, and this grand final would be even more exciting to watch.
“Since we last played (Yarram), our forward line was still learning how to play with each other, we’ve strengthened the midfield, but by the same token, they didn’t have Griff Underwood in and he’s league best-and-fairest,” he said.
“They haven’t been in our competition long, but they’ve become a staunch opponent — there’s certainly some feeling between the two clubs.”
Yarram president Anthony Rodaughan said his club had a very positive vibe, as the thirds and under 15s had also made it to grand final day.
“We’ve only been in the North Gippsland League for a couple of years, so this is the biggest representation we’ve had since we joined the league,” he said.
“Main street is looking good, lots of streamers and windows — I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls for netball dresses and footy jumpers to hang in the windows.
“When you drive out of Yarram on the way to the football on Saturday morning, there’ll be messages and streamers on the way out with the players’ names.”
Despite losing the talented Matt Clavarino to a broken leg against Heyfield in the semi-final, Rodaughan was fully confident in his men.
“There’s quite a list of eligible footballers in line for his spot,” he said.
“Grand finals are won by 26 blokes, no one person wins a flag, and we certainly know that anything can happen on the day.
“Even though we’re minor premiers we’re not taking Sale City lightly. They’ve been in grand finals in recent years and had a bit of success, so we’re out to win but we’re well aware of the challenge.”
Yarram’s thirds will also be playing on the big day, taking on Rosedale. In the netball, Sale City’s A grade side will play Woodside in its first grand final in 10 years, something Monash was very proud of.
“In the last six weeks they’ve gone through unbeaten, and surprised everyone including themselves,” he said.
NGFNL grand final
Saturday at Traralgon Recreation Reserve:
Football, seniors: Yarram v Sale City, 2.30pm; reserves: Traralgon-Tyers United v Glengarry, noon; thirds: Yarram v Rosedale, 9.30am.
Netball, A grade: Sale City v Woodside, 2.55pm; B grade: Heyfield v Woodside, 1.35pm; C grade: Heyfield v Traralgon-Tyers United, 12.20pm; D grade: Traralgon-Tyers United v Sale City, 11am; under 17s: Sale City v Traralgon-Tyers United, 9.50am; under 15s: Heyfield v Yarram, 8.45am.