Souths happy to build up the one day that matters - the Cairns men's hockey final
SOUTHS men's coach Andrew Bombardieri has been around long enough to know that tonight's grand final is "not just another game".
The proud clubman, who also runs the women’s side and has children in both Classic League teams, lives for grand final day.
He wants nothing more than to beat Stingers and add another premiership to their tally.
"It’s the game that counts, it’s the pinnacle and there is no better feeling than to win one of these," he said.
Having lost only twice this season, he believes they have the confidence and track record to do it.
But the coach knows it will not come easily.
Last year they were hot favourites to beat two-time defending champions Saints, but only just won 3-2.
It was some early moments of magic from former Kookaburra Dean Butler that made the difference, and he said it would be something similar that split the sides this year.
"It’ll be a close game, no doubt," he said.
"Last year it was special plays from special people that separated it and there is every chance it could be that way again."
He pointed out Stingers’ centre half Justin Gibbs, the man likely to tussle with Butler in the midfield, as a major threat.
Both team’s talent runs deep though, in what should be a high-quality contest.
"It’d be up there with any other league in the state in terms of the quality of play," Bombardieri said.
Stingers have beaten Souths just once this year – a 5-1 belting when Butler was not playing – but they have been in a position to win in almost every contest.
Stingers’ defender Rod Taylor said it was about embracing the grand final stage and making sure when they had their chance, they took it.
"We know we’ve got a side capable of beating them; we’ve had them on the ropes plenty of times and we just need to take our chances," he said.
"It’s been a great season, getting past Saints last week was a relief and now we are in a position to achieve what we have been aiming for."
Play begins at 7pm.
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Contest:Stingers and Souths do battle in tonight's grand final with Saints' Todd Gill and Stingers' Lewis Short looking at renwing rivalries.