BFNL grand finalist – Strathfieldsaye

FOR a club that is only nine years old, Strathfieldsaye returns to a familiar stage on Saturday – BFNL grand final day at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Since joining the BFNL in 2009 the Storm has played in grand finals in 2013 (lost to Golden Square), 2014 (defeated Sandhurst), 2015 (defeated Sandhurst) and now a fourth in 2017.

In what’s a significant achievement for the Storm, the club has all three of its football teams in Saturday’s grand finals.

It has already been a big week for the Storm, with their star goalkicker Lachlan Sharp having won the Michelsen Medal to go with his Ron Best Medal.

The only other two players in BFNL history to have won the Michelsen Medal and league goalkicking in the same season have been Eaglehawk’s Greg Kennedy (1971) and Rochester’s Ray Willett (1962), who both went on to play in flags the same season.

Sharp – a dual premiership player with the Storm – enters the grand final with 136 goals for the season, equating to 36.6 per cent of Strathfieldsaye’s goals.

Second on the Storm’s goalkicking is co-captain Shannon Geary with a distant 26.

Geary, Sharp, Jake Hall, co-captain Jayden Donaldson, Kellan Smith, Lachlan Bonney and Tom Dowd, who is one of the squad inclusions, are 2014-2015 Storm premiership players who get a crack at winning their third flag for the club. 

A Strathfieldsaye win would also be a remarkable eighth flag in a row for forward Brad Rohde, who played in seven-straight with Bridgewater before joining the Storm this year.

While the Storm ended the season second on the ladder, a game behind the Hawks, they were the No.1 ranked team for both attack (average 126 points for) and defence (average 58 points against), with their percentage of 218.1 44 per cent better than any other team.

The Storm have won eight of their past nine games – which included kicking six-consecutive scores above 150 – with their only defeat through that time a three-point loss to Eaglehawk in the second semi-final.

After seven years at the helm starting in 2011, the grand final will be Darryl Wilson’s last as coach of the Storm after he announced last month that he would be standing down.