Diamond Creek coach Craig Hayes believes the 2017 season has already been a success for his side, regardless of the result in Saturday’s grand final.
The Creekers qualified for the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 premiership decider with a tense seven-point win over Lower Plenty in the preliminary final.
A three-goal burst in the final quarter helped the Creekers overcome the Bears as the club booked in its first senior grand final appearance since 2005.
Reflecting on how far his side has come in recent seasons, Hayes said 2017 was already a successful campaign for his young team.
“Despite the result, to make a grand final is a successful year,” Hayes told NFL.org.au.
“They’re very hard to get to and they’re even harder to win.
“Most definitely it has already been a successful year for sure.”
Diamond Creek will face all-conquering North Heidelberg in the premiership decider, a team it has failed to beat on four occasions this year.
That includes a 78-point loss in Round 18 and a 70-point defeat in the second semi final in the pair’s two most recent encounters.
The Creekers trailed the semi final by just one point early in the third term, before being overpowered.
“Round 18 is practically irrelevant. We’ll put a line through that one,” Hayes said.
“In our last meeting, we’ll focus on the things that we did well and obviously try and reinforce those to the playing group.
“We also have to address where we got it wrong at times and where they made us pay a price. That’s all we can focus on and hopefully the improvement comes.”
Failing to defeat the Bulldogs this year means Diamond Creek will go into the match as heavy underdog – however it is a tag the club is relishing.
And despite the four failed attempts, Hayes is confident his side will be able to reverse the result on Saturday.
“We’re pretty confident with how we structure up,” Hayes said.
“We might make some subtle changes. You’ve got to really buy into what you’ve been doing, that’s why we’re now playing in the last game of the year.
“The club is very buoyant at the moment.”
Hayes believes the midfield battle is going to be the most crucial aspect of Saturday’s game, with the side that delivers a cleaner route to the forward line likely to win out on the day.
“Their forward line is pretty good and our defence is pretty good. Their defence is also quite good and our forward line probably will need to work a lot harder,” Hayes declared.
“That’s an area we’ll need to address, but in the midfield, opportunities are going to come from winning that contested ball. That’s where it’s won and lost.”
Saturday is an exciting prospect for Diamond Creek, who has all three grades playing in grand finals at Preston City Oval.
It is the first time in the history of the club that all three sides are playing on the last day of the season, and the footballers will now look to emulate the success of the club’s netball division – who took out the Section 1 and 2 premierships last week.