Keep it clean

October 07, 2017

Good touch: Shepparton South's Joel Patafio had the ball on a string in the heavy conditions at Central Park on Sunday.

Shepparton South could create history tomorrow by winning the first Bendigo Amateur Soccer League grand final.

South, which finished second on the table, travels to face the champions Eaglehawk at Epsom in a mouth-watering affair.

The two sides have clashed twice in the past three weeks, with South registering a win and a draw, giving co-coach Joel Aitken confidence ahead of the premiership decider.

‘‘We are excited about the challenge, the boys are confident knowing that we have matched up quite well against them in the past few weeks,’’ Aitken said.

‘‘We just have to go out and play our game, we are at full strength, so it is up to us now and how bad we want it.’’

Nick Merino will return from suspension, pushing captain Tim Lardener back into defence.

Fellow South co-coach Nathan Radevski was adamant if his side was to win it needed to keep a clean sheet.

‘‘Our boys up front score goals, they have scored in every game this season, so it is our job to keep a clean sheet,’’ Radevski said.

‘‘If we do that, it will go a long way in helping us lift the cup at the end of the day.

‘‘We are at full strength, there is no excuses for us.’’

Aitken and Eaglehawk’s Greg Thomas lead the competition’s goalscoring ranks with 36 and 37, respectively, while Sean Grant (17), Toby Ferguson (17) and Jesse Brun (13) have also hit double figures.

South most recently defeated Eaglehawk 3-1 to progress to the grand final, while the latter had to endure a tough battle with Shepparton United last week, before also winning 3-1 in extra time.

‘‘Every player will be running on raw emotion and adrenaline (tomorrow), so I don’t think the game last week will have any real bearing on Eaglehawk,’’ Aitken said.

Eaglehawk’s André Latt and Jan Kerr added the two decisive goals last week and Aitken acknowledge their threat alongside playing coach Thomas.

‘‘They have got some very good players, we can’t underrate them, we respect them as a team and will definitely need to be on our game,’’ Aitken said.

‘‘Kerr plays on the wing and they try to utilise him through the diagonal balls and Thomas is just a goalscorer.’’

●Meanwhile, Shepparton United will square off against Strathdale in the men’s division two grand final.

In a battle between first and second, minor champions Strathdale will be hoping to complete an undefeated season, after only drawing six games all campaign.

Two of those draws have come against United, but Strathdale did beat United only two weeks ago 1-0 to advance to the grand final.

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