History in big games is what makes finals rivalries so enticing, and Learmonth and Springbank will add another chapter to theirs this weekend in the Central Highlands Netball League A grade grand final.
The clash is a rematch of last year’s grand final, where Springbank prevailed by two goals.
They also played off for the premiership in 2015, again it was Springbank.
But Learmonth enters Saturday undefeated, a final round draw with the Hepburn its only blemish, giving it plenty to be confident about.
But how much can be read into past meetings and finals encounters? Does it mean anything once the whistle is blown?
In 2015, Learmonth beat Springbank by 25 goals early in the season, but lost in the grand final. While last year Learmonth won the home and away and qualifying final clash with the Tigers, only to lose the big one.
Once again, the Lakies defeated Springbank by 24 goals in round eight this season – but it will be looking to break the pattern of years gone by on Saturday.
Learmonth coach Jordan O’Keefe said there would be no surprises on the weekend. He expects both teams to have the same line-ups as previous and given the sides know each other so well, it was a matter of who executed on the day. But as Learmonth searches for its first A grade premiership in over 20 years, O’Keefe said this week was simply about reinforcing what his group was capable of, what has made it the benchmark of the competition.
“We’re not going to try and reinvent anything now,” O’Keefe said.
“I’m quite strong in reinforcing that I have a team of players that have such ability and are so highly-skilled.
“It’s just a matter of reinforcing that message to them. We’re all very aware of how Springbank plays…but when it comes down to it, they know how we play as well.”
O’Keefe said he had addressed some key areas with the group during the week in order to make sure the side finds the type of netball that got it to this point from the first whistle.
O’Keefe felt in these big finals matches, there was always errors and nervous tension at the start of the game and said it would be crucial to settle into the match quickly and limit the damage during the early period.
In the Springbank camp, it is hoping that history can play a part in the minds of both teams.
But it has a hunger of its own driving it to the pinnacle – back-to-back flags.
Having had plenty of success over the past six years, Springbank is yet to defend a title, something that coach Cynna Kydd said would be a special achievement.
“We’ve never gone back-to-back,” Kydd said.
“You just want to be able to tick it off your checklist.
“Hopefully it’s (the finals history) a positive...but it’s a fairly new team, so I don’t think it’ll have an effect really.”
Kydd said her side would go in at full strength and was eager to lift the sides’ performance to the one that saw it beat Hepburn by six goals in the preliminary final. She added that in-season meetings meant little come Saturday and her side would simply have to be at its best once again to get the job done at the business end of the season.
“They wiped the floor with us during the season…mind you, that happened three years ago too. They’re a strong team, although the last couple of games shows that they are beatable.
“Learmonth are very hungry for it…it’s positive to have those stats on them, but this is a different season.”
Adding to the rivalry is the fact the clubs also meet in the B grade grand final.
Learmonth will also be favoured in this encounter having beaten Springbank by 20 and 14 respectively during its two meetings throughout the season.