Two wonderful football teams in Pines and Sorrento will vie for the glorious title of ‘Kings of Peninsula Football’ when the Pythons and Sharks collide in Sunday’s Chisholm MPNFL Division One Grand Final at Frankston Park.
The oval at Kars Street has become the judgment-place of Peninsula football over the years where brave and heroic acts have lifted great teams to the most special feeling in the sport.
It was that way in 1994 when Leigh Carpenter led Pines to its last premiership success and rolled all the way through to 2017 when Troy Schwarze helped Sorrento to its most recent triumph.
And it will most certainly be that way again in 2018.
The balance between belief and vulnerability, both physically and mentally, gets tested like never before on grand final day, in front of a huge crowd, with so much on the line – at the mecca of local football.
Will it be Pines’ coach Paddy Swayn, and his 22 charges that enter their names into the record books, or will Sharks’ playing-coach Luke Tapscott play a key role in Sorrento’s seventh premiership in 11 years?
This grand final – well it has all the hallmarks of a classic!
Frankston YCW has taken the sting out of the last three premiership deciders – being dominant on grand final day – but the Pythons and Sharks look set for a thrilling showdown for this year’s title.
The Sharks finished top of the ladder but were rolled by the Pythons by 13 points in the second semi-final at Mornington, a result that seemed to raise more questions than provide answers to the local football community.
Did the tight confines of Alexandra Park suit the Pythons, and will be they be able to run with either Sorrento or Mt Eliza at Frankston Park?
And does the week’s rest halt a momentum that has been building strength in the second half of the season?
The impact of ground dimensions will only be answered by what transpires on game day, but the ability to put the feet up and have a week’s rest has historically been the best way to win a premiership.
And it will always be that way until hindsight makes its annual appearance at 5pm on Sunday.
The matchups are intriguing.
The all-important midfield battles will be intense, with league best and fairest winner Paul ‘Chewy’ Scanlon leading Luke Potts, Lachie Marshall and Perry Lewis-Smith into a key area for the Pythons.
For Sorrento, Mitch Hallahan is one of the few midfielders in the competition to have the strength to go with Scanlon at the stoppages, while his brother James will be joined by Zach Byrns, Shannon Gladman, Tapscott, and the pacey Matt Dobrowolski in trying to pick apart the Pines’ on-ballers.
Both teams have heavy scoring power and the work of the key defenders could decide this contest.
Nick Marston and James Brigden will no doubt get the jobs on Pines’ dangermen Aaron Edwards and Tim Bongetti, with Daniel and Jackson Grant offering assistance.
Guy Hendry will get a big job for the Pythons down back, as will Jacob Boyle, Jack Fisher and Daniel John, who looks the perfect matchup for the dangerous Nick Corp.
Will Chris Dawes play? Who goes to Leigh Poholke? And can Tapscott have enough influence up forward to kick the Sharks a winning score?
It’s going to be memorable, a classic, a real test of character that will see only one team emerge as the champion team – the ‘Kings of Peninsula Football” – for 2018.
Frankston Park will once again provide the perfect canvas for these great players to test their skills and entertain the crowd with some wonderful football.
Good luck to both clubs, and to spectators – just sit back and enjoy the pinnacle of local sport.