It all goes on the line for Werribee in the Hockey Victoria men’s Vic League 2 this Sunday.
At stake is the holy grail, a premiership.
History is against the Tigers, who haven’t won a senior men’s premiership since 1993, but there’s a sense this team is one that is hellbent on defying the odds and writing its own history.
The tougher the task the better for this focused group.
As the lowest ranked team in the finals, the Tigers have been the underdogs throughout September, but that has not stopped them.
The Tigers ended MHSOB’s season in a cut-throat semi-final and eliminated St Bede’s in a 2-1 preliminary final win on Sunday.
Standing in the way of Werribee and that elusive premiership is Bayside.
Bayside is the minor premier and favourite going into the season decider at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday.
But Bayside can be beaten and is statistically on par with Werribee.
The Tigers crushed Bayside 4-1 last time the sides met.
Their goal difference was almost identical in the home-and-away rounds, with Werribee’s slightly better at +56 and Bayside’s at +51.
Werribee scored 76 goals and conceded 20, while Bayside scored 73 and gave up 22.
This final of two well-matched teams gives Werribee plenty of reason to dream.
Tigers defender Ross Cowlishaw shares the optimism.
“As long as we come in switched on and bring our top game, we’ll be a chance,” he said. “If we all come prepared and bring our game, we’re fairly confident.”
Werribee has been building up to this moment for three months.
The Tigers’ form has been white hot, including winning six games in a row.
Since round eight, the Tigers have won 11, drawn one and lost one.
Over that span, Werribee has displayed a ruthless attack – not just beating teams, but pummelling them into submission.
The best part of Sunday’s victory over
St Bede’s was that Werribee had to find a different way to win. The Tigers were not afforded the lion’s share of possession they had been used to in the previous weeks.
Defenders Cowlishaw, Ryan Buust, Jayden Street and Andrew Dearnley and goalkeeper Aaron Durajski kept St Bede’s at bay for the most part to ensure the Tigers got through to the grand final.
“We attacked early, scoring our two goals in the first half,” Cowlishaw said. “It was probably our defence that got the job done in the end. The defence held up strongly.”
Goals from Matthew Skoglund, who pounced to mop up a rebound off a short corner, and Peter Nalder, who scored from open play, were enough to send Werribee to the big dance.
If the Tigers can beat Bayside in Sunday’s decider, they will be promoted to Vic League 1.
“Winning a premiership is what you want, but getting promotion is the icing on the cake,” Cowlishaw said. “It would be good for the younger blokes coming up.”