WARRNAMBOOL Rangers want to make amends for their 2013 straight-set finals exit when they start a new flag tilt on Sunday.
They meet Ballarat in the Ballarat and District Soccer Association division one second semi-final in a twilight fixture at Morshead Park after finishing the home-and-away season in second spot.
The winner will receive a direct passage to the grand final, while the loser will meet the elimination final winner in a preliminary final battle.
Warrnambool’s semi-final is pencilled in for a 5.30pm start.
Its division two side, which also finished second, will play Ballarat at 12.30pm.
“It’s a five-hour delay between games,” Rangers coach Nick van Rooy said.
“So it’s a long day. The girls’ game is in between and they (organisers) have to allow for extra time and penalties too.”
Van Rooy said the Rangers had learnt from their forgettable 2013 finals campaign and were ready for the challenge against minor premier Ballarat.
“We’ve had two wins and two losses against Ballarat,” he said of the 2014 regular season.
“We have won the last two encounters and that’s always a bit of a confidence booster.
“Each year they are one of the top contenders.
“They direct all their forward play through one striker but we like to spread it around.
“They play a high midfield as well to help him out.”
The Rangers finished their home-and-away season with a 4-0 rout over fellow top-four side Forest at Jones Oval on Sunday.
“It’s a 20-week season and to come home the way we have is good. It’s good to finish the season on a high,” van Rooy said.
“It was a pretty scrappy game. The boys gritted through for a solid win.
“It was hot and the ground was hard. We’re used to wet and windy (playing conditions) down here.”
Warrnambool’s division two side secured its top-two finish with a final round 3-2 win against Forest.
Van Rooy, who coaches the second-tier side as well, said Rangers had qualified senior players for division two finals.
Warrnambool’s under 17s will also play finals after finishing fourth.
It will play Vic Park in an elimination final on Saturday after recording a 2-1 loss to Ballarat to end its regular season. Warrnambool’s women’s side finished its season with an 18-0 drubbing of Sebastopol.
It fell one point short of a finals berth.
“They have come home strong,” van Rooy said.
“They have a lot of young players and it’s good to see the maturity.”
The Rangers’ under 15 team suffered an 8-2 loss to North United White and finished ninth on an 11-team table.