By Josh Ward.
All roads lead to Tormore Reserve for this Saturday’s Division One Grand Final between the undefeated South Belgrave and the red-hot Mitcham Tigers.
The Saints continued their remarkable rise under Luke Galliott, finishing on top of the table and being undefeated in the home & away season for the second time in three full seasons since 2019.
Departing senior coach Galliott recently said that with the form the side had been in throughout the season he felt they’d be in this position for the second consecutive year.
“The footy club and all the supporters can’t wait to get out to Boronia on Saturday and hope the seniors play really well,” Galliott said.
They face a Mitcham outfit that come in off the back of breaking their hoodoo against Montrose in last Saturday’s preliminary final.
Senior coach Neil Winterton recently said that the boys were excited once again to play on the biggest stage of them all for the first time in four years.
“This is why you play footy, you work hard, you do the preseason, you turn up to training in the freezing cold conditions and you do it to have the opportunity to play in a Grand Final.”
South Belgrave enter this game having had the bye in the first and third week of finals, with Galliott adding that the side can improve on their result two weeks ago.
“Reality is there’s only so much you can do with training sessions, we trained both Saturday’s on the weeks off. But I’m hoping it’s similar to last year and we save our best for last.”
Winterton on the other hand believes his side are starting to hit form in their previous two finals against North Ringwood and Montrose.
“On the weekend it was the first time we had almost our full complement of players out there and it was no coincidence that we were able to play our best footy.”
Whilst having high respect for the talented Mitcham midfield Galliot believes that matching or limiting the Tigers effectiveness off half back will be key.
“They like to sling shot the ball off half back so we want to try and contain that and obviously try to get really good entries into our gun forwards and put them under some real pressure.”
Winterton also added that getting on top of the midfield battle will also be key to limiting the supply to the likes of Taylor Garner and Tim Smith.
“We understand that we’re gonna have to get on top through the midfield as you try to do pretty much every game. We’re hoping that can propel us to a win.”
Victory here in Galliott’s final game as South Belgrave coach would see them win a third consecutive premiership.
Whilst it would mean a lot for the Saints to win their fourth EFNL premiership Galliott added that the foundations are set for the club in years to come.
“The club’s got hefty ambitions and the weekend will be a stepping stone to an extent. With no promotion we’ll just go about our business, give everything we’ve got and hopefully that’s good enough.”
A win for Mitcham would see them win their third premiership under Winterton after premierships in 2015 and 2019.
Winterton mentioned that victory would be a testament for the work the club has done off the field having been struggling before he joined the club to put them into this position.
“To be able to build the club to what it is now is a huge credit to all the people behind the scenes, it would be a really great reward for them to be able to see a premiership in Division 1.”