Eagles ready to sink into Pies

Maffra coach Hayden Burgiel has no qualms about wearing the underdog tag for the Gippsland League grand final, in fact it has become something of a lucky charm.

“Most grand finals we’ve won we’ve gone in as the underdog which has been our biggest advantage; it’s more pressure on the team that’s favourite,” Burgiel said.

“We’ve played Sale twice in the grand final now… obviously we’ve won both times when we weren’t expected to win.”

Down three-nil in the head-to-head this season, Maffra will need to draw on its vast finals experience to turn the tide.

“There’s going to be a big focus on the way we want to play, especially against Sale… each time we played them we haven’t played our best style of footy,” Burgiel said.

“They’re a very good team and you definitely have to be at your best to beat them but it’s a grand final and anything can happen.”

A string of injuries has forced Burgiel to use 73 players this season and their third-place ladder finish displayed the club’s depth.

“To finish third and now be in the grand final after so many hiccups during the year… we’re very happy with where we are at the moment,” he said.

Burgiel believes the game will be won in the backline battle, and said his side must contain Matt Ferguson who ran riot in their last meeting.

Maffra’s omnipresence in the grand final over the past decade has become embedded in club culture, something Burgiel put down to a strong junior system.

“If we can keep developing our good juniors to stay, which we have done over the last 10 years, we’ll keep making the finals and keep performing,” he said.