IT is all about the collective for Loy Yang B Gippsland Power when it heads into its TAC Cup grand final clash with Oakleigh Chargers this Sunday at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne.
Power players will be in prime position to make an impression ahead of the Australian Football League draft on the youth competition’s biggest stage, but will have only team glory in mind come the opening bounce.
“They’ve had two wins in finals so they’re obviously playing good footy and putting themselves right up there for the draft and that’s super important,” the Power regional manager Peter Francis said.
“But the most important thing is they’re a very team-oriented group; they’re all playing roles for the team but they’ll still get noticed even when they do that.”
The Power have enjoyed a perfect preparation for their fourth TAC Cup grand final with a welcome week off prior to a gritty four-point win over defending champion Sandringham Dragons.
Power had to rally from behind to steal victory in the dying moments when Nick Graham coolly slotted home a set shot in what has been heralded as one of the TAC Cup’s finest spectacles to date.
“It was one of the great games of TAC Cup footy; it was a really high standard, very quick and a tough physical game as well,” Francis said.
“One of the hardest games to get through is no doubt the preliminary final and with the week off (beforehand) I think our preparation was really good; the boys really rested up the first week.”
With no apparent injury worries on the books and the likes of Tim Membrey and Graham in career-best form, the Power seem well poised but will have to overcome last year’s runner-up Oakleigh.
The Chargers came from sixth on the regular season ladder to reach the decider but their 12-goal thumping of North Ballarat Rebels, 17.17 (119) to 5.6 (36), proved they were no premiership pretenders.
“It’s no surprise at all (to see them there),” Francis said.
“I spoke to a recruiter early in the year… and he said he thought Oakleigh and Gippsland were probably the best two sides at that stage.
“It will be a very good game (but) our boys are in good form and playing really well.”
Francis said Gippsland’s style was akin to the Sydney Swans in that they would look to play one-on-one contests and close Oakleigh’s space down quickly.
“Oakleigh and us play very differently and we think we’ll be able to close them down and make sure they’ve got no space and time to use the footy and we’ll get them on the rebound,” he said.
The game starts at 10.30am at Etihad Staduim, Melbourne on Sunday and will act as curtain raiser to the Victorian Football League grand final.