YARRAWONGA co-coach Chris Kennedy yesterday defended the Pigeons’ fiercest rival, saying people should stop complaining about Albury’s success.
North Albury coach Jason Akermanis recently said Albury had “destroyed” the league and it should be embarrassed about it, but Kennedy said those claims were off the mark.
“People have complained about how powerful the Albury footy club are but we’ve never once been envious,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve just wanted to get as powerful as them.
“They’re a powerful organisation,” Kennedy said.
“I think if every club strived to be as powerful, this competition would be super strong.
“I think that’s the biggest difference.
“We’ve tried to get as strong as these guys.”
Kennedy said Yarrawonga’s unwavering pursuit of success was a major factor as to why it kept facing off against Albury in the decider.
Sunday’s clash at Lavington will be the fifth consecutive year the Pigeons and Tigers have met in the grand final.
“That’s why the games are so competitive and why there is such a strong rivalry,” Kennedy said.
“Our club has worked hard to get where we are and compete with these guys.
“It’s been built off and on the field.
“It’s not just the players but supporters, sponsors.
“There is a rivalry there that is probably the biggest rivalry in the history of the game.
“It’s like Collingwood and Carlton.”
Kennedy made no apologies for Yarrawonga’s success in recent seasons and said it had assured his playing group a spot in the history books.
“Everybody is going to remember these grand finals,” Kennedy said.
“Both sides are going to be remembered for this rivalry.
“It’s so healthy.
“I think it’s a credit to both clubs.”
Kennedy said Yarrawonga had in fact modelled itself on its biggest rival.
“You go there and everything is run so professionally,” Kennedy said.
“The ground is presented immaculately.
“Why wouldn’t a player that comes to the Border want to play there, the way they present?
“We’ve learned a lot from them.”