There's no shortage of big-game experience as Northern Suburbs and City United meet in this weekend's first grade grand final at Lorn Park.
The 2016-17 decider is the third time in four years the two teams have met in the grand final and the fifth in the past decade.
City will be playing their fourth grand final in a row and will be looking to break a losing streak in their centenary year after losing last year to Western Suburbs and back-to-back losses to Norths before that.
The key number for Norths is five, with teams from all five senior grades competing in grand finals on the weekend after Norths fifth grade team replaced Wests in the final when the Plovers were disqualified for playing an unregistered player in the semi-final.
“To have five teams in the grand final is something we are extremely proud of a club. It would be fantastic if we can get home in all five games. We’ve also got four of our teams in junior finals, which is where our success is coming from,” Norths skipper Michael Wilson said.
“We’re probably favourites. We’ve only lost two games this season, but one of those was against City United and we know we have to be at our best.
“Hopefully we can get on to play, although the weather is not looking too good. The good thing is we have four days to complete the two days of play.
“If we can’t get on Saturday, we can start on Sunday and finish the following weekend. It can come down to a one-day final on the final Sunday.”
Wilson said the consistency of performances across his side had been the most pleasing aspect of Norths’ year and gave them confidence going into the final.
“We bat well down the order and have six or seven bowling options,” he said. “We haven’t relied on big performances from the same two or three players. Each week we have had a variety of contributors.
“The other key factor is that we have big-game experience. There is a core of players in the 25-28 year group who have played in a lot of grand finals over recent years.
“Even youngsters like Will Fort, who is 15, have performed in grade finals and have plenty of experience.”
City skipper Matt Trappel said as with any final the first hour on both days would be crucial.
“Whether we bat or bowl, we really need to be switched on for the first hour as it can set the tone for the day.
“We’ve got some really good bowling options, Ben Davies is in great form and is the leading wicket taker this year for the comp.
“Young Josh Adams showed great maturity for us in the semi-final to grab the last wicket and finish with a five for.
“Our spinners Nick Bower and Blake Chandler are probably key for us, especially if the opening bowlers can make a few early break throughs.
“On the batting side ideally we get through that first hour without losing a wicket. We need to bat out our 80 overs.
“Karl Bowd (70) and Blake Chandler (20) did a terrific job for us in our second dig last week and we’ll be looking for that type of application right down the order.”
Trappel said his side took a great deal of confidence from their recent win against Norths and will be looking for the same sort of application by the bowlers, batters and in the field.
“If we can be at our best I rate us a good chance to win. You play cricket to play in grand finals and to win one after the last three years, particular in our centenary would be fantastic.”
City United last won the premiership in 2008-09 under Nick Bower. It is their sixth grand final appearance since 2007-08.
That team broke a drought back to the mid-1980s when Trappel’s dad Wayne was captain.
Play is scheduled on both days at 12.30pm.