THE Bendigo Senior Secondary College Lions will fight for premiership glory in Sunday’s School Sport Victoria premier league grand final at the MCG.
It’s been a dozen years since BSSC played and won a title decider at the famous ground.
In Sunday’s match the Lions take on Box Hill Secondary College.
The Lions and Hawks do battle from 3.50pm as a curtain-raiser to the clash between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood.
In the SSV premier league, BSSC and Box Hill racked up four consecutive wins – three in the pool, and then a semi-final.
The last of BSSC’s pool games was a four-point victory against Catholic College Bendigo at Epsom-Huntly Reserve.
The Lions had won earlier rounds against Lake View and Essendon-Keilor.
On semi-final form, Box Hill starts favourite in the grand final.
The Hawks kicked off semi-final day at Collingwood’s Victoria Park by scoring a 14-goal win against CCB.
A hard-fought contest between the Lions and Hallam ended in a 17-point victory for BSSC.
Many in the Bendigo Senior team play for the Bendigo Bank Pioneers in the TAC Cup under-18s competition.
BSSC and the Pioneers are both coached by David Newett.
“To be playing on the MCG is going to be a memorable experience,” Newett said.
“Our pressure on the ball-carrier has to be high,” Newett said of BSSC’s play against the Hawks.
“Box Hill has two or three key forwards who are strong in the air and had a big influence in the semi final against CCB.
“It’s important we slow up their quick transition from defence and midfield to the forward line,” Newett said.
Pressure and workrate have been a major focus for the Lions in all four matches.
“Our defence was excellent against Hallam, but we cannot afford Box Hill to have quick movement to the forward 50m arc.”
Newett said one of the greatest challenges would be nerves within both teams.
“This is a grand final, so being able to control nerves will be important.
“None of our team have played on the MCG before, so that’s exciting, but also a massive challenge in terms of adjusting to the size of the ground, wind, and obviously the bigger crowd later in the game.”
Being in the grand final is also great reward for BSSC’s key off-field players such as team manager Gary Thorn, timekeeper Shirley Wallis, and trainer Max Healey who have been on the Lions journey the past nine years.