JOE Maguires Waratahs and Tudor West will be out to effect a changing of the guard in Sunday’s first grade deciders.
Both will take on the defending champions – and not just one-year premiers either.
Services Workies and Longyard Flames have virtually had a monopoly on the silverware in recent years.
Workies will be shooting for five straight titles in the men’s, albeit first Northern Hockey Premier League title, while Flames’ count is up to something like 12 of the last 13 women’s premierships.
At the other end of the scale, Sunday will be Waratahs’ first-ever shot at the title.
It’s going to be a huge ask but coach Greg Doolan is optimistic.
“I think we can do it but it’s going to be incredibly tough,” Doolan said.
“But we’ve got the girls to do the hard running.”
That’s been one of their biggest attributes this season, along with their ability to stay in contests.
In previous seasons, that hasn’t always been the case.
There’s also a great sense of camaraderie between the girls, Doolan said.
He is excited but realistic about what they are up against.
“They’re so experienced in big games,” he said.
They have competed with Flames throughout the season but Doolan isn’t putting too much stock on that.
“They always step up in grand finals,” he said.
One of the keys will be how they (Waratahs) cope with the pressure of a grand final.
It could work either way, Doolan said.
“We could have the enthusiasm of being in the grand final for the first time, or be overawed by it,” he said.
Tudors have been there before, although it has been a few years.
They last played in the decider in 2009 – the first year of Workies’ run.
Still, it will be, for a lot of them, their first first grade grand final.
“For many it will be their first experience in Tudors’ colours in the grand final,” coach Sam Lobsey said.
It will be his first for a while. He won a couple of titles with Tudors back in the late ’90s before he went away to uni.
“There’s a really good buzz,” he said.
They know on their day they’re certainly capable of beating Workies. They’ve already done it twice.
It’s a matter of whether they can deliver on the day.
“We don’t need to change anything,” Lobsey said.
“It comes down to putting in the effort.”
“And doing our job in each position. If we do that, we’ll win.”
The men’s grand final will be at 3pm following the women’s at 1pm.