LAST TIME THEY MET: Buninyong 10.9 (69) d Beaufort 9.11 (65), round 4, 2018
GOALS – Buninyong: S. Cooper 4, D. Pelchen 2, J. Renga 2, J. Dunne, L. Rigby. Beaufort: T. Stapleton 2, N. Sullivan 2, A. Petrie, J. Mason, D. Venditti, J. Duke, M. Foster.
BEST – Buninyong: L. Rigby, S. Cooper, S. Russell, N. Gilbert, J. Coxall, A. Bomitali. Beaufort: L. Cox, B. Howard, D. Venditti, M. Jenkins, T. Stapleton, B. Hayes.
There will be few strangers to the Central Highlands Football League’s biggest stage when Beaufort and Buninyong run out for a shot at glory on Saturday.
Both clubs have reached deciders in recent years, but have fallen short at the final hurdle.
For the Crows, 16 players named in the selected side played in last year’s grand final defeat at the hands of Hepburn.
At Buninyong, 12 of the team that lost to Springbank in 2016 are back for another crack.
Bombers coach Jarrod Morgan has been knocking on the door to claim the CHFL’s holy grail, suffering grand final defeats in 2012 and 2013, as well as the 2016 defeat by the Tigers.
He is treating this Saturday’s battle with the Crows as a completely different challenge and is trying not to reflect too much on those missed opportunities.
“There’s a few boys that have been around for the last few since 2012 that played in those (losing grand finals),” Morgan said.
“I think every experience is different. The teams do change pretty quickly, the personnel and the way it is. Obviously the ground (Mars Stadium) is different now and all that sort of thing.
“So as much as it does drive you a little bit, it’s completely different. We are a completely different side and we are coming up against a completely different opposition as well.”
Crows coach Rohan Brown is looking to erase the disappointment of last year.
“We get another chance at a grand final and it is exciting for our club and the players to have both reserves and our seniors in,” Brown said.
“Hopefully we can create our own history on Saturday.”
Beaufort and Buninyong have met once this season, with the Bombers getting home by four points in a hard-fought contest back in round four.
There still appears little between the two sides, which finished inside the top four and won through to the decider with qualifying and preliminary final victories.
Saturday’s game is at Mars Stadium and begins at 2.45pm.