Fresh off its second break in four weeks, Keilor coach Emma Kerry believes last week’s bye will be an advantage for her side ahead of the ANZ NFNL Women’s Division 1 grand final.
After finishing the season on top of the ladder, Keilor charged into Sunday’s premiership decider, where they will face reigning premier, Bendigo.
The Blues were rewarded for their dominant season with a direct route into the second semi final, where they overcame the Thunder by two points to advance straight through to the grand final.
Kerry said her side was fresh and ready to produce its best in the biggest game of the season.
“Getting to this end of the season, you’ve got some sore bodies out there and Bendigo will be playing their 18th game and we’ll only be playing our 15th game this weekend,” Kerry said.
“I think we’ve kept a lot of momentum going with extra training sessions throughout our two finals byes so it’s allowed the girls to rest and get right for the game.
“It’s a positive because rather than playing three hard games, we’ve only played one to get into the grand final.”
After losing their first encounter to Bendigo in Round 4, Keilor came away victorious in their next two match-ups, including their recent semi-final clash.
“I’ve watched the semi final a number of times to see where we can improve and what Bendigo do well,” Kerry said.
“We have definitely taken a lot of that game and hopefully we’ll give a better performance.”
Kerry believes her team’s ‘never give up attitude’ has held them in great stead all season.
“Our resilience is a testament to the leadership we have,” Kerry said.
“We’ve got a strong group and it’s pleasing to see that when things get tough, my girls definitely stick together, play as a team and never give up.
“Even if we are down at some point during the game, Bendigo will know that our girls will never give up and they’ll be looking over their shoulders until the final siren if that’s the case.”
With a wealth of experience, Kerry backs her side’s generals to lead by example in the tough moments.
“I’m very fortunate that I have the leadership group in Jill McBain, Ellie McLean and Robyn Foster to keep the girls up and about.
“Jill McBain carries this team. She’ll do inspirational stuff. She’ll take the big hits and she’s not scared to get in there and put her body on the line. The girls see her doing that and they just follow.”
Kerry said that the Blues are embracing the expectation surrounding them.
“It’s a grand final so everyone has pressure on them. We’ve only lost one game but there was only one or two kicks between us and Bendigo all season.
“We ended up on top of the ladder so technically we are the favourites but Bendigo are the reigning premiers, so they are going to come out pretty hard to go back-to-back so the pressure is on both of us.”