MARONG and Pyramid Hill will be fighting to keep their seasons alive on Sunday in the Loddon Valley Football League first semi-final at Calivil.
The Panthers will enter the clash full of confidence after their impressive win over Newbridge in last week’s elimination final.
In tough conditions, the Panthers prevailed by 73 points – 13.12 (90) to 2.5 (17) – in what was Marong’s biggest win in a final since it defeated Mitiamo by 80 points in the 1989 grand final.
As well as last week’s confidence-boosting win over Newbridge, Pyramid Hill won’t hold any fears for the Panthers.
When they last met in round 10, the Panthers produced their best win of the season when they came from behind during the last term to win by 12 points.
Pyramid Hill must put the disappointment of last week’s extra time loss to Bridgewater in the qualifying final behind it.
Coach Paul Grayling has challenged his experienced players to lift this week as the Bulldogs strive to keep alive their chances of ending a premiership drought that dates back to 1950.
The Bulldogs have been more consistent than Marong over the course of the year, but will have to get back to their late-season form when they won six in a row leading into the finals if they are to prevail on Sunday.
Paul Grayling (Pyramid Hill) – “We’ve got to take our chances this week and our top end players need to stand up.
“Some of our older guys, myself included, last week didn’t do some of the things they’ve been doing well and made a few mistakes.
“We’ll keep working on getting the process right and get back to things that got us into the finals.
“We owe Marong one from last time we played them. We’ll be looking to bounce back and show everyone that we’re still in it and a red-hot chance.”
Corey Gregg (Marong) – “We’ll take a lot of confidence out of last weekend. There’s a good feeling around the club and everyone is up and about.
“We showed last time we’re capable of beating Pyramid Hill, so we’ll take that into the game and hopefully, we get the right result.
“Against the top sides, you can’t afford to be having any lapses, so we’ll be focused on playing four good quarters on Sunday.”