Normal transmission has resumed with Deer Park reaching a seventh consecutive Western Region Football League division 1 grand final.
The Lions have dealt with a number of testing situations on and off the field in 2019, but they have come through to book a mouth-watering clash with Altona in the big one at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Lions coach Marc Bullen said his club will be chasing history when it steps out on Saturday.
“We’re excited to get into our seventh consecutive grand final,” he said.
“If we’re able to achieve a seventh premiership in a row next week, we’ll go down in history.
“That’s unprecedented in suburban football.”
While the six-time defending champions will take their familiar stand for the national anthem on grand final day, it will be slightly different this time as they stare down an Altona side that is going in as slight favourites.
Altona finished the season three games clear on top and have a 3-0 record against Deer Park, so they deserve to be the favourites.
Bullen praised Altona for what it has achieved so far this season, but he is confident his side has what it takes to turn the tables on them in the season decider.
“They’re a fantastic side,” he said.
“Their defence is absolutely rock solid, they’ve got a fantastic ruckman in Sean Tighe, an outstanding midfield and their forward line is very good as well.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, we’ll go in as underdogs, but they’ve got to play Deer Park on the last day in September and get the job done.
“We’re there, we’ve done it, we’ve got the experience and we’ve got players that can win games off their own boot.
“We’re confident with where we’re sitting at the moment.”
Bullen conceded the run to the grand final this year was “by far” the hardest of the seven.
Indifferent form, injuries and a lengthy investigation into Deer Park’s salary cap have weighed on the club.
Bullen believes Saturday’s 27-point win over Spotswood in the preliminary final at Avalon Airport Oval could be a turning point.
The Lions will go in with a bit of momentum, whereas Altona has the week off leading into the grand final.
“I think the extra game today will give be good for us,” Bullen said. “I think it’s going to add value to us whereas Altona have only played one game in the past month.”
Deer Park will be without Jase Perkins, the competition’s leading goalkicker, for the grand final. It is a good thing the Lions finally utilised key forward target Jack Redpath to the fullest, who kicked five goals in the win over Spotswood.
While Deer Park has a potent attacking set-up, Redpath is likely to be the focal point and will likely need to kick a bag for his team to win.
Will Deer Park be in seventh heaven on Saturday night, or will the WRFL crown a new champion for the first time since Altona lifted the cup back in 2012?