COLTS United want to play without the fear of failure when they take on Strathdale in the BASL women’s division title decider on Saturday.
The teams have dominated the league and will slug it out in the final round’s quasi ‘grand final’ from 2pm at Strathfieldsaye.
Colts holds a one-point lead over Strathdale and only needs a draw to break a six-year title drought.
Colts are the warm favourites after an undefeated season, but team manager Sarah Berry admitted that tag doesn’t sit comfortably.
“I don’t think any of the players in the team at the moment have been in this position before,” Berry said.
“So it’s difficult being on top of the ladder and going into the last round with the chance that all your hard work could be undone so easily.
“I think they’re all very excited, but no-ones taking anything for granted because we’ve had a few close wins and a draw the past few weeks.
“We’ve been very successful this year, but I think it will just be whether the nerves get to the girls will be the big thing tomorrow.
“As long as we don’t underestimate them, I think we should be okay.”
While Colts is at full-strength, Strathdale will be without first choice goalkeeper Angelica Pahina.
However, the match could be won at the other end.
Colts has the league’s best defence, conceding only nine times, but the Blues boast the most potent attack - led by golden boot winner Jacinta Dikkenberg (44 goals) and runner-up Tayla Vlaeminck (24).
Blues coach Chris Eaton was guarded on his game plan, but Strathdale needs a victory to clinch its first women’s title.
“It would be a very fair achievement, especially because we haven’t got a big squad, most weeks we’ve turned up with 11, sometimes 12,” Eaton said.
“They’ve got the advantage because they only have to draw and they’re at home.
“We are the underdog and we’ve never won the league before…so really everything aims towards Colts winning this game, but I don’t think they will.”
When these clubs last met, Colts United scored a 3-0 victory on Strathdale’s pitch at Beischer Park.
Bianca Cola, Tayla Maloney and Liz Watkins were on target.
The competition’s top two are level on goal difference, +81.
Colts has struck 90 goals in its run of 13 wins, two draws and no defeats.
The Blues reached the century mark in last Sunday’s win at Moama and have conceded 19 goals in a run of 13 wins, a draw and loss.
Other matches for round 18 will be played tomorrow at 11am, with Eaglehawk hosting Epsom, Castlemaine travelling to Spring Gully and Golden City entertaining Swan Hill at Shadforth Park.