HER LOCK-DOWN role was vital in steering Warrnambool Rangers to its maiden premiership.
Almost one-year on, Ebony Smith is facing a similar task as her club vies for a second-consecutive Ballarat and District Soccer Association crown.
The 22-year-old stopper knows her back four face an uphill battle against Sebastopol Vikings’ lightning-fast forwards.
She’s confident, yet wary leading into Saturday’s decider.
“They’ve definitely got some quick strikers. We'll have to try and read how they’re going to play,” Smith said.
“My biggest thing as a defender is trying to jockey my opponent – I don’t like to dive into tackles. Hopefully that will help me.
“I think it’s important to be able to read the passes and to see where they’re going to move in their attacking third.”
A fifth-year player at Jones Oval, Smith said her team was careful to avoid complacency ahead of the grand final.
“I think we’re trying to keep a level head,” Smith said.
“We don’t want to go in overconfident, but we don’t want to go in under-confident either.
“We know we have a really good chance if we can play our best game.
“Everybody has worked extremely hard this season, so I don’t see why we can’t do it.”
Rangers are set to lock horns with Sebastopol Vikings on Saturday.
The game will kick off at 5pm at Morshead Park.