THEY have applied the heat all season. The effort was stepped up for the finals, but the grand final means bringing something special to the table. There is no chance for redemption next week.
Forget about the pressure on the Sunbury and North Ballarat City players today and spare a thought for those working in the canteen at Eastern Oval.
The team of Ballarat Football Netball Club volunteers who will be serving thousands of footy fans are as well prepared as those footballers and netballers who will take the field and the court.
There are 400 pies, 200 hot dogs and a quarter of a tonne of chips ready to go. Some poor soul (or souls) will have cut up 43kg of onions.
Leading the team is Swans stalwart Helen James.
She says the Swans have learnt from Darley, which managed the canteen at last year’s grand final, but there are still some surprises.
“We’ve been lucky in that Darley kept a fantastic record of what they sold last year and East Point have been fantastic in allowing us to use their facilities,” Ms James said.
“You still have to guess a bit. In other finals we had some leftovers of stuff that Darley had sold out of. The hot dogs didn’t sell as well for us, while at the qualifying final we had some pies and pasties left over.
“We’ve been lucky with the weather. The better the weather, the more we sell. They will be in the canteen, a chip stall, coffee van and three barbecue areas.”
The Swans expect to sell 600 hamburgers, 700 snags and 1500 cold drinks. For the coffee drinking crew, roughly 700 cappuccinos will be prepared.
And like the grand finalists themselves, preparations for the main event started as soon as last weekend’s preliminary final finished.
“Every day this week we have been doing something, from bagging lollies to making gravy,” Ms James said. “We have had 45 volunteers, including footballers and netballers this week.”
Ms James has headed up the Swans’ canteen for nearly 18 years. She and a couple of other stalwarts from Alfredton Oval had planned to give it away at the end of this season.
“We will be going out with a bang,” she said.