City's bid for grand final redemption

KEVIN McMahon is no stranger to grand final day nerves. 

It would be safe to think the 71-year-old would be used to it by now, having played in 25 of the last 26 Saturday pennant bowls grand finals. 

But the City Memorial Red skipper says despite so many appearances, he will still get “jitters” before the first roll this afternoon. 

“I still get a little bit nervous before the game, but it’s a bit of an adrenaline rush as well,” he said. 

“Let me tell you, at 71 years old there aren’t to many opportunities for an adrenaline rush, so it’s good to still be able to get that feeling.” 

McMahon’s City Memorial Red will be playing for its 11th premiership in the last 25 years today when it takes on Western District Bowls Division powerhouse Warrnambool Gold, which is playing for its 15th title.

City Memorial is on the hunt for redemption after Warrnambool Gold ended its quest for a hat-trick of premierships with a thumping 29-shot win in the 2012-13 grand final. 

Today marks the 19th time in the past 20 seasons that the clubs have met in the top-grade decider. 

Warrnambool Gold skipper Peter Pangrazio is no stranger to grand final appearances either, having played in the last 15. He’s also familiar with City Memorial, having played at the club until last season, when he made the switch to Warrnambool. 

Since moving to the city in 1998, Pangrazio says he has only missed one grand final. 

“I started at City Memorial and won a club triples championship with Kevin at one stage.

“It’s always tough playing against your old club. Last year was especially tough, but we have a friendly rivalry.” 

Warrnambool Gold heads into today’s decider the unbackable favourite, after only dropping one game over the past two seasons. 

“I think we deserve to go in favourites. We’ve been the strongest side for the past couple of seasons but finals are a different,” Pangrazio said. 

“We’ve been strong up front all season — our leads and seconds will determine the game. 

“Both sides have experienced skippers and thirds, so getting the upper hand early will be important.” 

McMahon agreed, saying that 90 per cent will come down to the leads and seconds. 

“We found out that three of our players wouldn’t be able to play, so we have a few new players coming in,” he said.

“It (bringing in new players) worked for us a couple of years ago.

“They are very keen and they will give us 100 per cent. We just have to go out and give it our best shot.” 

The pair admit to a friendly rivalry on the green, with McMahon quipping there would only be one good thing about losing. 

“He’ll have to buy the beers,” he said. 

jwoolley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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