Bendigo coach Luis Alverus-Harris believes his side is raring to go ahead of Sunday’s ANZ NFNL Women’s Division 1 grand final, where they are aiming for back to back flags.
The Thunder enter the decider on the back of a gruelling finals series.
After finishing second on the ladder, the Thunder defeated the VU Western Spurs by 14 points in the qualifying final, where extra time was required after scores were tied at the final siren.
They then fell two points short of Keilor in the second semi-final, before eventually booked their place in the grand final – after overcoming the Spurs once again in Sunday’s preliminary final by 16 points.
Alverus-Harris is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the minor premiers once again, with the premiership cup up for grabs.
“Keilor were in front when it counted in the semi. It was a very good, close game and we’ll certainly take confidence from that, despite the fact that they are the favourites.” Alverus-Harris said.
Keilor has won the past two of three encounters against the Thunder throughout the season.
However, the winning margins have been combined total of just nine points, showcasing the evenness between the two sides.
“We’ve had three really good battles with Keilor and we came out on top the first time around. They are a fantastic team, they have lots of good players and they are very well coached,” he said.
One of the keys to the Thunder’s strong season has been its defence, which has stood up particularly in the finals series according to Alverus-Harris.
“Our defence has been a strong team within our team,” he said.
“We’ve had lots of injuries and haven’t played the same team two weeks in a row all season, but the back six has been pretty well settled.
“The backline has done a fantastic job, especially in the finals keeping our opponents to low scores. They fight really hard and they’ve been under a lot of pressure through certain periods of the games.”
Despite being the reigning premiers, Alverus-Harris doesn’t believe his side feels any added pressure going into this year’s grand final.
“I think Keilor being the dominant team has taken away any of that sort of pressure,” he said.
“At the start of the season there was probably that expectation of trying to go back-to-back but a lot has changed from last year to this year.
“We’re lucky enough that we’ve got some girls with finals experience and that can help keep things as normal as possible this week.
“We’ve got one game in front of us and hopefully four good quarters of football will get the job done.”