NORTH Warrnambool Eagles’ reserves side has already created history, winning through to the club’s first football grand final.
On Saturday it has the chance to go one step further and win a premiership.
For Eagles coach Matt Jellie and veteran Aaron Ross, it looms as the perfect way to bow out, with the pair to retire regardless of the result.
Jellie, 36, and Ross, 35, have played with the club through trying times, with tomorrow’s grand final Ross’ first in a career spanning 253 club games.
“The netballers have done well. There’s a lot of flags there but just to have a footy flag up in the rooms would show we are heading in the right direction,” Jellie said.
The forward duo expect a big crowd decked in blue and yellow to cheer them on at Reid Oval.
“We’re lucky in that despite the success we haven’t had, our supporter base is one of the better ones in the league,” Ross said. “A lot of the other ones sort of drop off when they’re not going so well, whereas ours has stuck by us.”
Standing in North’s way is Camperdown. The Eagles, who won the minor premiership, defeated the Magpies in the second semi-final by 11 points.
“It comes down to the day. We’ve beaten them twice and they’ve beaten us twice,” Jellie said.
“I think we are in the same boat a bit. They wouldn’t have played many finals of recent times.
“If we settle well and treat it as another game, which is hard of course, I think we can win.
“A lot of our players this weekend have played seniors. Nearly everyone has played seniors for us or district league.
“You look through the side and a few years ago that would have been our senior side.”
Ross, whose only premiership was overseas with East London Wildcats, said the Eagles’ depth meant it was the right time to step aside.
Ross, Jellie and Ben Ward are the only Eagles’ reserves players over 30.
“Get out while the body’s still decent, especially when we’ve got six or seven players who will probably miss out this week,” Ross said. “It’s probably time for us to move on so they can fill the void for say the next 10, 12 years.
“We will be called upon if we’re short but we have good enough numbers.”
North’s seniors and under 18 football sides also played finals this season.