Anticipation is building for the first of the 2018 Herald Sun Shield Grand Finals, with the Division 1 Girls Intermediate and Senior deciders set to kick off at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday August 8. Mark Koelmeyer reports.
After a number of schools right across Victoria competed for their bid to play off for premiership glory, Ballarat Grammar and Sacred Heart College will compete for the Intermediate title, while reigning premiers Ballarat Grammar will face Hallam Secondary College in the Seniors game.
In the opening game of the day, Ballarat will be confident heading into its Intermediate Grand Final clash after being able to generate 25 scoring shots against CRC North Keilor in the semi-final.
Sacred Heart had a much closer affair, overcoming Doncaster Secondary by just nine points.
They were able to hold Doncaster to two scoring shots on the day and will need to put in another strong defensive performance to slow down the juggernaut that is Ballarat.
In the second game of the day, Ballarat Grammar will look to make history as they chase their third consecutive Herald Sun Shield senior title.
Both Hallam and Ballarat have been the benchmark of the competition with Hallam looking to equal Ballarat’s record of three flags since the competition began, while Ballarat is in search of its third flag in four years.
Director of Sport Dean Rossato believes the culture coach Matt Hanlon has built since joining Ballarat, will go a long way in winning another title.
“They’ve been coached by the same person, Matt Hanlon for a long period,” said Rossato.
“He’s been able to develop their understanding and passion for the game, the culture is just so strong now, the girls love their football.
“We hope the wide open spaces of GMHBA Stadium will suit our team and we can just run and run and run.”
While Ballarat’s goal of a three-peat is a focus for the team, the story of youngster Nyakoat Wuol is one that can’t be ignored.
Wuol is a Sudanese refugee who will take the field with the seniors as a Year 9 student, a remarkable achievement for someone who has only played football for a brief period.
While Ballarat have won the last two premierships, Hallam have enjoyed success of their own winning two flags in 2012 and 2013.
They are coming off a close semi-final win over MLC and are primed to upset the defending champions.
Coach Brett Alexander however expects a tough outing against a well organised Ballarat outfit.
“We’re expecting them to play some really well structured football,” said Alexander.
“I think they’ll know their roles very well, I’m expecting Matt Hanlon to have a really good rapport with the team and have their style of play down pat.”
The Division 1 Girls Intermediate Grand Final will kick off at 11am, followed by the Seniors match at 1pm.
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