THE lightning in the eastern sky visible from Reid Oval last night symbolised different aspects of the build-up to tomorrow’s Hampden league grand final between minor premier Warrnambool and Cobden.
As Warrnambool trained with thunder rumbling in the distance, the atmospheric conditions matched the mood over the club’s off-field operations after a turbulent day which saw police raid the home of a former employee.
That storm paled into insignificance for the Blues on the field last night but 58 kilometres east, Cobden’s lightning-fast fleet of youngsters prepared to hit the training track in front of an ethusiastic gathering of supporters.
But the heavens opened, forcing Cobden coach Wayne Robertson to abandon the session after just 30 minutes.
Amid the thunderstorms, both sides opted to make no changes for tomorrow’s premiership decider, which is expected to be played under sunny skies.
Warrnambool named the same 21 which defeated Cobden by 13 points in the second semi-final at a rain-soaked Victoria Park at Koroit two weeks ago.
Star full-forward Jason Rowan, who kicked 102 goals in the home-and-away season, trained last night and on Tuesday night, despite lingering speculation about a leg injury that has dogged him since round 14.
Coach Scott Carter declared his Blues ready for the club’s fifth consecutive grand final appearance.
“There was plenty of enthusiasm, plenty of energy and their skills were up,” Carter said.
“There are a lot of people around and there is a really good feeling. It’s exciting to have the under 18s, the A grade netball and senior footy side in grand finals.”
The Blues had an 80-minute hit-out last Saturday at Friendly Societies’ Park, despite having the week off.
“There was a fair bit of running involved,” Carter said.
Robertson said the Bombers were upbeat after their 52-point win over North Warrnambool Eagles in the preliminary final last Saturday.
“There was a really good feeling,” Robertson said of the mood among his players.
“We were out there for half an hour and it just pelted down. It was such a good night. We did 30 minutes of skills and that was it.”
Robertson said the Bombers had no injury concerns entering the match, despite a tough run in the second half of the season, including three finals so far.
“We are match hardened, our fitness levels are good, we have been running games out well,” he said.
“We’ve got no excuses this week. It should be an exciting game.”