THE Bendigo Fighting Miners will chase a third-straight premiership when they tackle the Maroondah Griffins in the Victorian Rugby Union Division 2B grand final on Saturday.
The Miners, sponsored by Keech Australia, will go into the finals as underdogs, but not without confidence.
The Miners are the only team to beat flag favourite Maroondah this year.
The two teams have met three times this season, with the Griffins winning twice.
Maroondah features a strong forward pack, an excellent playmaker at five-eighth and a good counter-attacking back three.
Bendigo has received a setback in its bid to defend its crown, with the withdrawal of Ale Liliva and Fareni Moefaauo from the team.
Liliva has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained in last week’s preliminary final. He will most likely be replaced by Brad Rieri in the starting line-up. Moefaauo’s withdrawal will cause a re-arrangement of the backline.
On a brighter note, prop Matt Roughley has passed a concussion test and will play.
Victory on Saturday would give the Miners their 14th premiership in the club's 44-year history.
It took 12 years for the Miners to win their first flag in 1982 with a team featuring three of the club’s four “immortals” – Doug Ross, Rauna Murray and Bill Coulter.
Since then, the Miners have added another 12 premierships, giving the club a strike rate of nearly 40 per cent, with 13 premierships in 33 years.
Saturday's grand final will be played at Sparks Reserve in Box Hill from 11.15am.