SATURDAY’S premiership battle between Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye will be the Bendigo Football-Netball League’s first grand final since 2001 to feature two teams that hadn’t played off the for flag the previous year.
The Hawks were beaten in the preliminary final last year, while the Storm were knocked out in the first semi-final in what was a straight-sets 2016 exit.
The last time a BFNL grand final didn’t feature any of the previous year’s combatants was 2001 when Golden Square defeated Sandhurst in their famed season where the Bulldogs became the league’s first – and still only – team to win the flag from the elimination final.
The Bulldogs-Dragons clash of 2001 came a year after Castlemaine defeated Kangaroo Flat in the 2000 grand final.
Last year’s grand finalists – again Golden Square and Sandhurst – finished third and fourth this season.
IT has been well documented this week that Strathfieldsaye’s Lachlan Sharp has become just the third player in BFNL history to win both the Michelsen Medal and league goalkicking together.
The only other two players to have done it previously were Eaglehawk’s Greg Kennedy in 1971 and Rochester’s Ray Willet in 1962.
In what may be an omen for Sharp and Strathfieldsaye this week, Kennedy and Willett also went on to add premiership medallions that same year to their Michelsen and goalkicking awards.
Sharp became the first Strathfieldsaye player to win the Michelsen Medal on Sunday night with 18 votes for his 124 goals – an average of 6.8 goals per vote.