Glasgow & Edinburgh can forget all about Rangers, Hearts, Hibs & Celtic this Saturday afternoon with the two traditional rivals of Scottish Australian Football, the Glasgow Sharks & Edinburgh Bloods, marching on Linlithgow for the 2018 SARFL decider.
The Bloods ensured it would be the competitions two best performing sides from throughout the regular season featuring on the final day, showing great heart in their 43-point semi-final victory over a spirited and physical Kingdom Kangaroos line-up last Saturday.
In their first Grand Final in three seasons, Edinburgh will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky in 2018 as they look to turn the tables on the competition benchmark from Glasgow, having been beaten by 29 & 36 points in the sides two previous meetings this year.
Edinburgh will cite a particularly poor start as the key factor in their 6-goal defeat when they faced the Sharks in the penultimate round of the home and away season, but their efforts in the second half of that game will give the Bloods plenty of cause for optimism after they provided stern opposition for the men from Glasgow.
Despite having the edge on their Grand Final opponents throughout the season, Glasgow Vice-President James Hancock has identified in-game momentum as the only significant separating factor between the two sides in the two matches.
“We got off to a flying start last game but had a period we were not happy with in the 3rd quarter that let the bloods right back into the game. We held on to win but the game was very close,” Hancock said.
“We know on Saturday that we won’t expect the bloods to start slowly again, so we need to grind out 4 consistent quarters to win… we can’t expect and favours from the opposition.”
It took a final round defeat to the Tyne Tees Tigers to prevent the Sharks from going through the season unbeaten – a loss which came after they had already booked their place in the final – with the side’s dominance forged on the back of a potent forward line that booted 232 points more than the next highest scoring team.
While his sides attacking flair has been a highlight all year, Hancock expects a defensive struggle as both sides adjust with everything to play for.
“Both teams are well led and drilled, so it will be about executing our game plan and skills on the day and taking our chances that will make the difference,” he said.
“The bloods have been solid and continued their consistent form that we have seen all year in the semifinal. From our perspective, we have a had a fantastic year but we have not completed our goal for the season yet, so we need one more big game to overcome a very strong opposition.”
LAST TIME THEY MET
Glasgow 15.16 (106) defeated Edinburgh 9.16 (70)