THE battle for second spot, the grand final re-match, the clash of the jungle.
It will be Lions versus Lions when Sunbury hosts Redan tomorrow, in the match that will most likely determine who will claim second spot and the guaranteed double chance come finals.
Redan sits one game and just three percentage points behind Sunbury on the ladder, with two games left in the season.
But while the Eastern Lions meet Ballarat Football League ladder leaders North Ballarat City next week in what is a 50-50 match, the maroon and gold will be near unbackable favourites against Melton.
It has often been said that Redan traditionally plays its best finals football when coming from third position on the ladder, but coach Eammon Gill is not buying into that theory.
“We’ll be coaching to win this game, my word,” he said.
“The top two is the spot where you want to finish, it gives you that guaranteed second spot. Once players go out there and play, they don’t want to lose games of football, just like we don’t as coaches.”
In what is undoubtedly the biggest modern BFL rivalry, it has been Sunbury that has ruled the jungle of late.
Redan triumphed in round 11 in 2011, but since then the Eastern Lions have reigned supreme. They have won the last four encounters, including two in the finals series last year.
“They’ve had the wood on us, they’ve beaten us the last four times and that is something we really want to change before finals,” Gill said.
“We won’t be holding anything back, that’s for sure.”
Dean Chester will drop out with his second hamstring injury of the season and Matthew Colbert will also miss, while Pat Britt and Damien Horbury will be welcomed returns at either end of the ground.
For Sunbury, Northern Blues-listed player Josh Burgess will play just his second match for the year, while Pat Cariss and Ryan Monzell will also return.
Sunbury coach Rick Horwood said the club hoped to have Burgess qualify for the finals by playing again next week, but would accept if he was recalled to the VFL club.
“It’s a massive game for both clubs,” Horwood said.
“People have said Redan always want to finish third and they won’t want to win this. My boys can’t afford to take that approach though, Redan will come out set on winning, we know that.”
PREDICTION: Sunbury to secure second spot.