YALLOURN-Yallourn North and Mirboo North will do battle in Mid Gippsland’s preliminary finals across both seniors and reserves at Trafalgar this weekend.
Both teams will have to manage their respective rosters all the more diligently with two games to be played, with no second chance for the losers.
The Tigers are experienced campaigners as far as finals are concerned and excel under pressure.
They have played in the past 12 finals series with flags in 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2014.
YYN has not participated in finals since 2008, so it has been a long journey to reach this stage.
Last week’s loss to Yinnar was a bitter blow but the minor premier must regroup and find that bit extra to reach its first grand final since 1996.
This season YYN has had the edge on Mirboo North winning both encounters – the first by 59 points and the return by only one point – so history is on the Bombers’ side.
It will be the 85th time these two have played against each other with YYN just holding the bragging rights, 43 to 40, with one draw.
For Mirboo North, which finished third, it has been a torrid final series so far with a loss to Yinnar in the qualifying final and a win against Newborough last week in the first semi.
YYN has had only one match so far, as reward for finishing top, but the week off did the side no favours.
It has been a big climb for the Bombers since finishing last in 2014 with only one win, but a massive recruiting drive saw past players return and the influx of new blood to turn the tide.
Coach Adam Bailey, a Trood Award-Rodda medallist, was the man picked to lead the Bombers upwards this season and a preliminary final in his first year is the stuff of legend.
Even if they lose it will be a tremendous effort by all concerned, but if they win a flag is up for grabs.
Mirboo North is chasing its own fairytale in the form of a third successive flag.
It has been a roller-coaster ride for the Tigers, juggling between third and fourth on the ladder, but they have made it this far and are only a footstep away from another appearance on the big stage.
Three hard matches may have impacted the team but it will be an all out effort nonetheless.
Both teams have relied on evergreen forwards to deliver the goods this season.
Tim Traill and Tim Phillips have accounted for 10 out of 12 goal kicking awards in recent years.
Traill won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 while Phillips topped the list in 2008 and 2015.
Traill would have to be the most decorated goal kicker in MGFL history, surpassing the great Jimmy Rasmussen, Steve Sanders and Joe Makowski.
He is key to how the Tigers perform, as is Kris Berchtold, another player who has served the Tigers faithfully over the years.