THIS IS a second chance for Navarre.
The Grasshoppers are back on the Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League’s biggest stage.
They fell short in their bid to win senior premiership last year, their first season in the competition. Now they get another shot at Maryborough’s Princes Park tomorrow.
Carisbrook starts favourite and have been on pace all season for a tilt at its first premiership since 2008.
Navarre is vying to win its first senior title since 1999.
Grasshoppers coach Daniel Parkin said the club went all-out in its premiership hunt last season – this year top eight was the aim and any extra finals a bonus – but there was still a slight lingering feeling of unfinished business.
“People around the club talk about it a little bit,” Parkin said.
“At the end of the day, we hope 22 players come off the ground with heads held high, no regrets.
“When players come off knowing you could’ve done better or could’ve done more, it burns with them forever.”
Navarre won its first encounter with Carisbrook this season by 27 points in round 12, but Carisbrook topped the battle in the qualifying final by 20 points.
The Grasshoppers and Redbacks sport similar outfits – a couple of key goalkickers and balanced defence and midfield.
Carisbrook coach Luke Treacy said his team was close-knit and did not rely on any one player.
“We have had plenty of guys that have played together for a long while now,” Treacy said.
“They (Navarre) are a really tough, hard-at-the-ball side, and they play a similar brand of football to ourselves and like to spread well when they have possession.”
The Redbacks will sport about 10 players in the seniors on Sunday from their 2008 premiership team.
Experience will be invaluable.
Redback Marcus Emmett is vying for his fourth senior premiership, including past flags won at Stanhope and Bridgewater.
Treacy was a member of the 2008 premiership side and, with Emmett, carves up play with their running capacity and big game experience.
Co-coach Ben Kirk is a proven and seasoned goalkicker. Navarre forwards Kris Brennan and Louis Hannett have been solid contributors this season and must be firing for victory.
The Grasshoppers also sport an exciting blend of youth, including speedster Billy Parry, Daniel Reading and Jayden Fowkes, who have made a strong impact.
On paper this match is set to be tight, but Grasshopper Daniel Parking said anything could happen on grand final day.