STRATFORD will be aiming for its first senior football premiership since 2003 on Saturday.
The Swans will take on Wy Yung in the East Gippsland grand final at Bairnsdale City Oval.
The Swans are the form side of the competition, having overcome the four teams below them on the ladder ahead of the finals. They also proved too strong for Lindenow in the second semi-final two weeks ago to book the first place in the grand final.
Eight years in the North Gippsland league were less than fruitful before the club’s move to East Gippsland saw an improvement in results.
After making the preliminary final last season, the Swans have only lost one match this year.
The Swans are the form side of the competition, having overcome the four teams below them on the ladder ahead of the finals.
They also proved too strong for Lindenow in the second semi-final two weeks ago to book the first place in the grand final.
To highlight their form, the Swans scored the most points, 233 more than the next best side, during the home-and-away season. They conceded 803 points, the only side to have less than 1000 points kicked against it.
The Tigers had the third best attack and defence during the home-and-away season.
In three meetings against the Tigers this season, the Swans have recorded victory by 40, 12 and 54 points.
All three matches have been close for at least the first half before the Swans’ superior fitness proved the difference.
The Tigers will have to contend with the Swans’ many avenues to goal.
Jack Bacon and Pat Gordon led the charge in the second semi-final against Lindenow, booting four goals each. Liam Lemon has also found the good goal kicking form.
The Swans’ leading goal kicker this season with 49, Josh Kiss booted two goals for their reserves two weeks ago and must be chance to return to the senior line-up.
The Swans also boast depth in the midfield with Lachlan Channing, Corey Scholtes, Jarryd Clohesy, Michael Walker and Joel Brayshaw set to provide a challenge for the Tigers. Lachlan Heywood can play in defence, but has been effective in the ruck.
The Tigers have had to work hard through the finals series.
They defeated defending premier Payneville by 16 points in the first semi-final before lifting the second half of the preliminary final to overcome Lindenow.
The Tigers made the Cats pay for their inaccuracy in front of goal in the first half, turning a 12-point half-time deficit into a 34-point win.
Mark Sellings (59 goals) and Tom Smith (48) have been focal points for the Tigers in attack this season.
Bryan Froud and Sam Denby-Blake have provided plenty of run out of defence.
STRATFORD will also feature in the reserves grand final, taking on reigning premier Lucknow.
Led by league best-and-fairest Aaron Lynch, the Swans have only lost three matches this season, one of those coming against the Magpies.
The sides meet two weeks ago in the second semi-final with the Swans withstanding a late charge to win by seven points.
Despite a poor second quarter, the Magpies defeated Wy Yung by 17 points in the preliminary final.
IN a great sign for the club’s future, Orbost-Snowy Rovers will contest the under 18 and 16 grand finals against Wy Yung and Lakes Entrance respectively.
Saturday at Bairnsdale City Oval:
Seniors: Stratford v Wy Yung, 2.15pm.
Reserves: Stratford v Lucknow, noon.
Under 18s: Wy Yung v Orbost-Snowy Rovers, 10am.
Under 16s: Lakes Entrance v Orbost-Snowy Rovers, 8am.