WITH Port Fairy ingrained in his identity, Isaac Martin understands the enormity of the club’s first grand final in more than a decade.
Martin, part of a loyal group who braved the Seagulls’ on-field struggles from 2009 to 2015, is relishing the chance to help his club to the Hampden league’s top prize.
The 22-year-old said his team was closer as a result of the tough times on-field.
“There’s definitely eight or nine of us who were there during the bad times, when we were getting beaten by 100-odd points each week,” he said.
“We’re starting to reap the rewards of that a bit and we’re a close bunch of lads now.”
Following its 17-point triumph over reigning premier Koroit in last Saturday’s second semi-final, Port Fairy has the luxury of a week’s rest leading into the decider.
Martin, a lifelong Seagull, expected a tough training hit-out on Saturday before tapering off prior to the grand final.
“We had a light run on Tuesday to get our legs back into it, but I think we’ll have a decent session on Saturday. It should be our biggest hit-out,” he said.
“We’ll probably have some short sessions then and make sure we’re right for the grand final.”
He said the reality of the berth was “still sinking in”.
“It really didn’t start to sink in until some of the crowd started to leave the change rooms. I sat there and took it all in,” Martin said.
“I’ve been thinking about it all week to be honest. We’ll start to see some streamers around the town and it’s an exciting time.
“Not just for the players, but for the whole town. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Port Fairy’s reserves are also in with a chance of snaring a grand final berth, facing South Warrnambool in this weekend’s preliminary final.
Three-time premier Koroit, meanwhile, is preparing to battle Levi Dare’s Cobden on Saturday in a bid to claim a fourth-successive grand final victory.