BROOKE Thompson admits that when she joined Merrivale at the start of the year, she didn't know exactly how much fire power the Tigers still had.
"I knew they had been strong in previous years, but I didn't realise how strong we would be again this year," she said.
Thompson joined the Tigers from South Warrnambool where she had been playing since she was a junior.
She said the reason for the move was to reignite the fire in her belly.
"I just wanted a change. I'd been playing at South Warrnambool since under 15s. I wanted to meet new people and have a new challenge and to get that passion for the game back," she said.
"I've been lucky. I joined the team at the start of the year and have been able to slip straight into a defence role."
Despite a long career in the game, Thompson said this weekend would be her first A grade netball grand final appearance when the Tigers play off against Dennington.
"I played in an A reserve premiership with South Warrnambool, but never played an A grade grand final. I'm looking forward to it."
Thompson said she expected the Tigers' shock loss in last year's grand final would make them hungry for redemption.
"Obviously I wasn't with the club last year and a couple of the other girls weren't either, so we don't really understand how that felt.
"But we know the other girls don't want to feel like that again, so they will be keen to get across the line. We all are."
She said the depth of Merrivale's side was a key factor in its success this year.
"It would be good to put 10 players on the court each week. That's the type of depth we have.
"We all gelled really well together so if someone has been sick or unavailable, we have been able to replace them with someone who knows the match-ups and who knows the style of play.
"We have been lucky like that."
She said when the Tigers lost key player Angela Collins early in the season, they were forced to re-think their game-play situation.
"We were winning a lot of games and then when Ange left, we lost a few.
"That was probably the turning point for the season.
"It forced us to re-think, and re-shuffle and once we settled, we got back on track," she said.
Thompson expects the grand final to be a close, hard-fought game.
"The first time we played Dennington we beat them by eight goals but they beat us in the last round of the season, so it's one-for-one.
"They were like a different team the second time round. They have gelled well together as the season has gone on," she said
"Dennington have some good players that we will need to keep an eye on, but the key will be getting out of the blocks early and getting a good start.
"We don't want to be playing catch up," Thompson said.