EMMANUEL College is striving for football redemption.
The Daryl Mahoney-coached senior team will meet Ballarat Clarendon College in a rematch of the 2013 Herald Sun Country Shield grand final at Colac’s Central Reserve tomorrow.
Mahoney said Emmanuel College was keen to atone for its 60-point loss last year.
“They got away from us at the end last year — there was only three goals in it at three-quarter-time,” he said.
“They play together week in, week out in the Ballarat competition and have a number of guys who play Rebels as well so we will have our work cut out.”
But Mahoney said Emmanuel College, which thumped Shepparton’s Wanganui Park Secondary College in its semi-final last month, had assembled a strong line-up with “no weak links”.
Emmanuel College, which has two North Ballarat Rebels-listed players in South Warrnam-bool’s Dom Moloney and Warrnambool’s Luke McLeod, appointed Koroit’s Jayden Brennan its captain for the final.
The team consists of year 11 and 12 players with one year 10 student, Koroit wingman Willem Drew, in the final 22.
“We have 16 boys who are currently playing or have played senior football in the Hampden league or Warrnambool and District league,” Mahoney said.
“In essence these boys have played a lot of football together since year 8.
“There is a football culture here I suppose but the academy we run at years 9 and 10 level feeds back into it.”
Mahoney said Emmanuel College had used 37 players throughout the country shield carnival and was content with its grand final line-up.
South Warrnambool’s Michael deJong (ankle) and Koroit’s Matthew Price (knee) will miss with injury.
“We have a lot of rotations (onball) and have a lot of reasonably-sized bodies and our outside speed (is a strength),” Mahoney said. “We don’t really have a weak link. Every player off the bench offers something.”
Mahoney said Warrnambool midfielder Liam Bishop, North Warrnambool Eagles defender Sam McKinnon and South Warrnambool forward Jake O’Sullivan had performed admirably throughout the competition and would be called upon to play significant roles tomorrow.
“Jake is very elusive. He’s small and very fast,” he said.
“He’s the type of kid where they’d say ‘he’s a little bloke, send the sixth defender to him’ and he’d cut him up in no time.”
Last year’s grand final was also played in Colac.
“Anyone around who wants to watch schoolboys football (should pop in),” Mahoney said.
“These are two high-quality sides and it will be a high-quality game.”
The country shield grand final is at 11.30am tomorrow. It had been scheduled for Geelong’s Kardinia Park but late yesterday the game was transferred by the AFL to Colac.