Sport

PDFL | grand final | Strathmerton preview

By Alex Mitchell

Six grand finals in seven years shows Strathmerton's sustained brilliance, but the Bulldogs know all that truly matters is how many premiership cups they stuff in their trophy cabinet.

With just one flag from five straight Picola District Football League grand finals between 2013 and 2017, the Bulldogs have experienced first-hand what heartbreak failing to cash in on opportunities can bring — it was no surprise it was one of the first things mentioned in the rooms after a gutsy preliminary final win against Rennie.

"That's what we've said to the boys, the opportunity is there, but you've just got to take hold of it," co-coach Shannon Edgar said.

"We've got a bit of work to do and only a six-day break, we've got to make sure we've got our mind on the job against Waaia, obviously a quality side that finished on top.

"We've got our work cut out for us, but these opportunities don't come around all the time."

Finishing second on the ladder this regular season with a 14-2 record, the Bulldogs have lost just once since round four and have been consistently excellent, knocking off Berrigan and Rennie in successive finals.

They had to dig deep to see off the Hoppers in Deniliquin's pouring rain, but Edgar expected a different style of contest against the Bombers.

"I think you'll find it will be a little bit more of an open game, Rennie is a strong-body contested side," he said.

"In my mind when the rain was coming, I was thinking it probably wasn't going to suit us, but we were just relentless in that effort and intensity.

"(Waaia) has got strengths all around the ground really, their midfielders really push deep into defence and help their backline. They've got a couple of really good key forwards with Meyland and Charlie Burrows, our backs will have their hands full."

On-ballers Lance Oswald and Simon Russell will lead the way for the Bulldogs along with a stellar defensive set-up, with captain Adrian Crestani and Matt Shannon to be influential.

Up forward, Travis Down has had a huge year with 48 goals, but plenty of options have presented themselves, with Zack Betson (27 goals), Theo Thomas (26), Russell (24) and Connor Hargreaves (21) all hitting the scoreboard in bulk.

With a chance to add to the club's legacy, Edgar said doing it for the old club figures was a major motivation.

"One of our old stalwarts Fred Henderson, he's been around the club for a long time and he came and gave us a hug after the game," he said.

"It means as much to them as it does to us, they sort of live through us. So being part of the club is great."