Jerilderie will be out to cement its place as one of the best Picola and District Football League teams since the turn of the century when it battles Strathmerton in Saturday’s grand final.
Should they win, the Dees will have snared three premiership in five years. No other team has had so much success in such a small period since Waaia dominated the early 1990s.
Leading the charge is former Deni Rovers mentor Josh Bode, and he says getting on top early will be the key to victory.
‘‘In the semi we had them on the ropes and we were up by about 37 points but they didn’t roll over,’’ the playing-coach said.
‘‘They just kept on coming and we know we can’t let our guard down no matter what the score is or what quarter it is.’’
And two weeks off in the finals series has paid off for Bode’s men, with the side now ‘‘100 per cent’’ fit.
‘‘Sometimes it doesn’t work out but it has been a positive for us.
‘‘I had a crook knee which I hurt against Deni (in round 18) and that’s come up 100 per cent.
‘‘Andrew May had a sore wrist for about six weeks and he’s had a few weeks off now.
‘‘There was about three or four guys with niggling injuries, including Az (Aaron Purcell), but we trained on Sunday and everyone is 100 per cent.’’
Jerilderie’s game plan is centred around midfielders Dave Gregory, Nicholas Keating and Chris Marshall getting the ball in fast to star forward Purcell, who has had an unbelievable season to kick 221 goals.
The Demons onballers will be up against Jose Tejones, Adrian Crestani, Luke Carter and Chris Skolyarev, while coach Shaun Downie floats between the forward line and the middle.
The minor premier will be held in good stead with ruck duo Ross Rohde and Jack Rutherford giving the Dees first use of the footy.
Strathmerton’s attacking game is one of the most lethal in the competition with strong-marking Adam Laidlaw (78 goals this year) and lightly-built Josh Evans (117 goals) forming a tough combination.
Evans has been a major thorn in the side of opposition teams this year, with the livewire small often sneaking bags of goals and was named this year’s Pearce medallist on Sunday night.
Chris Lockhart, a 21 year-old Demon with a no-nonsense attitude, will have the tough job of shutting Evans down.
Jerilderie’s backline general, James McRae, will line up on Laidlaw, while Brad Parker cements the centre half-back position.
Running off on either side of him will be the smooth skilled Lachlan Taylor-Nugent, who was best on ground in last year’s grand final, and up-and-coming star Blair Henery.
At the other end of the ground, power forward Purcell plays out of the goal square and rarely loses a one-on-one contest.
In the event he does drop a mark, he will be the first to make another contest unless his understudy Jak Payne swoops in first.
Payne, 22, is a dangerous forward in his own right, combining strong overhead skills and an accurate kick at goals. He has returned 54 majors from 19 games this season.
‘‘We have to be accountable across the whole board,’’ said Bode, who can play in any position on the field.
‘‘Their better players are quick, running types but really they are all like that.
‘‘If we let them get easy kicks they will just tear us apart.’’
The semi final played two weeks ago resulted in a 17-point win for the Demons and, providing they play at their fearsome best, the outcome should be similar on Saturday.
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