NORTH Ballarat Rebels are one win away from their first TAC Cup grand final since 1997.
The competition has scheduled a preliminary final day double-header at Carlton’s Princes Park tomorrow.
Gippsland Power will play Sandringham Dragons at 11.15am with the North Ballarat Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers match to follow at 2pm.
Rebels coach David Loader has labelled the game “enormous”.
The minor premier had a convincing win against the Chargers in round seven, winning 18.21 (129) to 4.8 (32).
“You have to go in quietly confident without getting too far in front of yourself,” he said.
“A good start will be absolutely crucial for us.
“The first 25 minutes of football is vital and will hold us in good stead for the rest of the day.
“Our contested ball has to be up and our run and carry.”
Loader said his players had to keep focused on the game and block out the scrutiny of AFL recruiters.
“Every eye in Australia will be focused on it,” he said.
“We have to continue doing what we’ve done all year.
“Things don’t change dramatically for us.”
The Rebels have named six south-west footballers, including South Warrnambool’s Louis Herbert fresh from a five-goal haul in the qualifying final win against Sandringham Dragons. Koroit pair Haydn Drew and Martin Gleeson and South Warrnambool’s Wil Pomorin were also named in the starting 18.
North Warrnambool Eagles’ Tom Smith was named on the interchange bench and Portland’s Jaydon Stiles as an emergency.
“Fingers crossed everything is right and the boys turn up to play, put their best foot forward and get reward for effort throughout the year,” Loader said.