THE battle for the double chance all comes down to one game.
With just two rounds remaining in the Ballarat Football League season, Saturday’s clash between Redan and Ballarat will ultimately decide who finishes in second position on the ladder.
Both sides sit even with 52 premiership points for the year, although the Lions have a far superior percentage.
The equation for both sides is simple; win and book in a qualifying final clash with North Ballarat City with the guarantee of a safety net if the first week of finals spawns a loss, or lose and play whoever finishes sixth in a sudden death playoff.
Both sides are near certainties to win next week; Ballarat should beat Sebastopol, while Redan should get the points over Melton, making this game all the more pivotal.
History has shown finishing third is far from the worst position in the BFL come finals time.
A win in the first elimination final week then sets up a double chance and an opportunity to advance straight to the grand final.
Redan has been known to steal premierships from third position in the past, but according to coach Eammon Gill, the quality of the teams in the bottom half of the six this year makes second position the true aspiration.
The Lions finished second last year and smashed North City in the qualifying final, only for North to end up winning the premiership.
“Finishing second is really important,” Gill said.
“You look at North City last year. They had on off day in finals but they
had that double-chance first up.
“With the competition the way it is, whoever finishes sixth is going to be a good side and could prove dangerous.”
The maroon and gold will welcome three wise heads into the side this week, with captain Brendan Peace, Nathan Blomeley and Nathan Riordan all returning.
However, Chris Giampaolo has been lost to North Ballarat Roosters.
For Ballarat, three big names come back into the side for the vital match.
Ruckman Sam Conroy, James Lukich and Chris Prockter all come back, adding some much-needed bulk to the line-up.
“We’ve probably been a bit light on in the big man department of late,” Ballarat coach ash Baker said.
“It’s a really big game for us. That double chance is invaluable come finals time.”
Mitch Rodd will also qualify for finals on Saturday, despite not playing a seniors game all year.
Rodd will play his third reserves game for the season, in what has been a season riddle with groin and hand injuries.
PREDICTION: Redan to secure a double chance in the finals.