Amid the euphoria of Altona heading to its first Western Region Football League division 1 grand final since 2012, is the calmness of coach Saade Ghazi.
Ghazi was quick to remind his players of the biggest task ahead after the Vikings moved through the season decider with a hard-fought 19-point win over six-time defending champions Deer Park at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
“We’re obviously extremely thrilled and probably relieved,” Ghazi said.
“Firstly we’ve qualified for the finals high up, now we’ve made a grand final and everything we’ve achieved is great and gives you confidence, but our focus now is on preparing for that.
“We’ll control what we can.
“You want to get in them, but you want to win them more.”
Altona’s last foray into a top-flight grand final yielded a premiership.
Anthony Eames, the current coach of Spotswood, took the Vikings to the top of the mountain.
Since that glorious moment, the Vikings have gone to the depths of despair as a club before slowly working their way back up.
There was a point in time when the Vikings were in a financial mess and needed a strong band of volunteers and sponsors to step up and save the club.
“The club did a wonderful job to win the premiership that year and probably struggled a bit for a few years,” Ghazi said.
“The club financially weren’t in a great place, but this win is also reward for everyone in the community and everyone who’s on the committee and helped out in the last seven years.
“It’s not just everyone who has helped out this year, it’s a reward for everybody and all the past players who have helped make the team better by making the standard better.”
On the field, it never really got too bad for Altona.
The Vikings played finals in 2013, missed out in 2014, but were back in the finals mix in 2015 and have not missed out on the September action since.
Under Ghazi, the Vikings have emerged as the team most likely to end Deer Park’s dynasty.
Ghazi believes in this team and that is why he does not want them to get ahead of themselves before the job is done and a premiership flag is on its way to Grant Reserve.
“Yeah, it’s a great reward to be in a grand final, but obviously you really want to make it worthwhile by winning,” he said.
The first half of Saturday’s clash between Altona and Deer Park was tight and tense.
The Vikings kicked away with a six-goal-to-one blitz before holding off the Lions in the last quarter.
Sean Tighe claimed best-on-ground for his efforts in the ruck.
Steven Kennedy was the standout onballer in the game.
Kennedy was able to win his own ball at ground level and offer support to teammates through his run.
Jayden Post had a significant role as a swingman.
He marked strongly as a forward in the third quarter when the Vikings were gaining momentum and then went back in the fourth quarter to effect the game in defence.
Altona will meet the winner of the preliminary final bout between Deer Park and Spotswood at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Spotswood will go into the prelim on a high after a thrilling four-point win over Werribee Districts in the semi-final at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday.
In division 2, Parkside bowed out with a seven-point loss to Wyndhamvale.
Wyndhamvale will meet Yarraville Seddon in the grand final at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday.
In division 3, it will be Glen Orden taking on Albanvale for the major prize at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.