WILL it be Strathfieldsaye into its first grand final, or Golden Square earning the chance to play for its fifth premiership in a row?
They are the two scenarios heading into Sunday’s Bendigo Football League second semi-final at the QEO.
Strathfieldsaye will go into the game carrying the tag as the favourites after finishing six points clear at the top of the ladder and having beaten Golden Square twice during the home and away season by 61 and 16 points.
But finals are a whole new ball game and Golden Square is the September specialist, having won the past four flags. The Storm are embarking on their second finals campaign in their short five-year history.
The Storm will be refreshed after last week off courtesy of its top-of-the-ladder finish, while Golden Square battled to hold off Eaglehawk to win the qualifying final by four points in what was the Bulldogs’ 11th finals win in a row.
“It’s one of those games where we’re coming up against a quality opposition that has been playing some super footy,” Golden Square coach Rick Ladson said.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.
“They’ve beaten us both times, but the sides are going to be different... we’ll have four or five who haven’t played against Strathfieldsaye yet this year.”
Among the Golden Square players yet to play against Strathfieldsaye is X-factor forward James Bristow, while fellow forward Matt O’Toole missed the round 11 encounter.
As for the finals experience in his side, Ladson said: “I don’t read too much into it, but we’re fortunate to have a list of guys where blokes have played in at least a couple of flags.”
Golden Square will welcome back swingman Travis Baird after he missed the qualifying final through a club-imposed suspension.
“Trav had the game taken away from him and it really hurt him last week not playing,” Ladson said.