Sebastopol Vikings are no stranger to success, but division one coach Sam Young said despite the club’s rich history there is no guarantee this opportunity will come around again soon – so make it count.
The Vikings will take on Warrnambool Rangers in Saturday’s Ballarat District Soccer Association division one grand final at Morshead Park, hoping to record its third cup triumph in a row.
Vikings won the league (on top after the home and away season) and the cup (finals victor) last season and again finished on top this year, pipping Warrnambool by three points.
Young said this week had been about managing the group and stressing that there was no need to change anything from what it has done throughout the season. He conceded there were a couple of sore bodies, but said his side was at full strength following the return of key player Justin Robson.
“We’ve prepared well, it’s more the mental side of things. There’s not much we can change do when it comes to changing the way we play or getting fitter,” Young said.
“Being involved in Sebastopol Vikings, we’re lucky enough that we’ve been quite successful over the years...so it’s not a different thing for them to be playing in finals, so it’s just a matter of trying to relax them and explain that you don’t have to change anything just because it’s a grand final. Obviously there will be more people watching and it means a bit more, but they don’t need to change anything – try and cut the nerves out as quick as they can and prepare as if it was a normal game.
“All the boys are raring to go. It’s not often you get to play in a grand final and you don’t know what next season will hold, so I just said come prepared and give it your all.”
The Vikings hold a 3-1 ledger over Rangers from their four meetings throughout the season, but it took until the 88th minute of the qualifying final to break the deadlock – underlining the evenness.
“They’ve been hard to beat all season.
“They’re a really fit, young side, they bring a lot of energy to the games.
“It’ll be a matter of someone making a mistake which lets the other team into score, because I think on paper we’re pretty much the same quality.”
Warrnambool is the only team to beat Vikings throughout the season and coach Cameron Pyke said that gave his side confidence and he is hoping his group can continue the momentum from a 5-4 preliminary final victory.
“We’re just trying to take in the experience, we’ve got a lot of young players that haven’t experienced anything like this,” Pyke said.