Everything they’ve ever worked for comes down to this.

It’s only one more game, but the biggest game of the year, the Grand Final.

Churchill and Woodside will go head-to-head this Saturday at Heyfield’s Gordon Street courts for the North Gippsland Football-Netball League A Grade premiership cup.

Some people never get a chance at the eternal glory of a local netball premiership, but come Saturday afternoon, one of these teams will be crowned premiers of North Gippsland.

Will it be the reigning premiers in Woodside, or will it be the underdogs in the Cougars?

Only time will tell. You can be sure of one thing: This game will be a heated exchange of desperation, tactical skill and netball brilliance unlike you’ve seen before; it’s a Grand Final.

Both teams have forged similar paths to the big dance.

The Wildcats have been unstoppable in this finals series.

Relentless in their pressure and scoring ability, the Woodside team has rolled their opponents.

Having finished fourth on the ladder, the team has had to do things the hard way with a threat of elimination over their heads.

As coach Elizabeth (Libby) Nicol said, this team loves pressure and rises to the stakes.

“It wasn’t until the last round we won and were bumped to fourth, and Kristy, our netball coordinator, said, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, and it 100 per cent has, because we have had the best build-up in the finals, we’ve done it the hard way, but we’re just on a roll,” the playing coach said.

“It’ll be a good game, Churchill are a good side, and they’re a really physical side and it will be hard work, but the girls are just so excited.

“We know their team, we will do up a little plan, we’ve watched them over the last few weeks, and we’ll implement a plan that hopefully gets us over the line in the end.”

Woodside’s strength comes from their ability to apply full-court pressure to force turnovers. All players who run that mid-court are ball-hungry, able to read the play and force the opposition into making mistakes.

Though Nicol said the Wildcats love playing under pressure, they bring the pressure with the fast-paced and intimidating style they play.

Their lethality, however, is in turning those turnovers into scores, with the tall shooting tower in Nicol able to convert.

In 2019, Nicol won her third Victorian Netball League (VNL) championship Hot Shot Award for scoring an impressive 835 goals for North East Blaze.

While one player doesn’t make a team, Nicol stands out as an integral piece to the Wildcats premiership puzzle.

Churchill will no doubt have a plan to stay composed in amongst the Wildcats pressure tornado on court.

The Cougars might well make chaos of their own; having downed Heyfield and Sale City convincingly in the finals, they have their eyes turned on the biggest fish or, should I say, Wildcat to fry.

Though Churchill has always been a competitive netball club, their last A Grade premiership was in 2012.

This premiership chance is 11 years in the making, and best believe they’ve got the heart to win it.

Expect to be stunned by the brilliance of captain and league best-and-fairest Rachael Loechel alongside her long-time court companion Katrina Hutchinson as they dominate the mid-court and give that silver service into Lynette Patten.

Speaking to coach Hutchinson, she said the Churchill side are feeling good coming into the Grand Final.

“We have put enough in play to keep our bond tight and bodies moving in the week break,” she said.

“The Wildcats are in great finals form but we are looking forward to the battle on the court.”

The Cougars finished in eighth position in the 2022 season and are already proud of the progress they have made.

“To come from eighth last season to be playing in a Grand Final shows that anything is possible,” Hutchinson said.

The Cougars can play a high-pressure game to match Woodside’s, and also have that same perfect mix of youth and experience that will assist in keeping composed and balance.

Both sides have had all the momentum coming off very hot form; though Woodside’s winning margins have been greater, the Cougars will be ready for their game style.

In the grand scheme of things, you have last year’s premier in Woodside attempting to defend their title and go back-to-back, a very difficult yet impressive feat.

On the other hand, you have the sneaky achievers with a big belief – the Cougars, who no one expected to be as good as they are today (besides this one journalist).

If you only watch one game of netball for the year, make sure it’s this one, as with these two teams, it’s going to be one hell of a show.