CUDGEWA coach Billy Deery is desperately hoping it’s seventh time lucky as he tries to snap a lifelong grand final hoodoo in Saturday’s decider against Corryong.
Deery, 36, suffered grand final heartache for the first time as a 16-year-old with Kiewa-Sandy Creek and has since gone on to play in a further five losing deciders.
He has played in two losing grand finals with Kiewa-Sandy Creek, two with Wodonga Raiders reserves and in Cudgewa’s two most recent grand final losses in 2011-12.
“I guess you could say I’ve got some unfinished business that started 20 years ago,” Deery said.
“I hope I haven’t got the curse of not ever winning one.
“Cudgewa hasn’t won one since 2000 either, so its been a long time between drinks and hopefully I can deliver something special on Saturday.”
Cudgewa will start an overwhelming favourite with a 3-1 record against the Demons, including a convincing 38-point victory in their most recent encounter in the second semi-final.
“Everyone probably expects us to just rock up and win on Saturday, but internally we know if we don’t perform to our best, we will get beat,” Deery said.
“We won’t be going in over-confident, that’s for sure.
“It’s a grand final and our form during the season accounts for nothing now — but we have had the perfect preparation.
“A week off, having a win followed by a week off and now a home grand final — you won’t hear any excuses from me if we get beat.
“After losing our past two grand finals, hunger is 99 per cent of the driving force for 90 per cent of the players.”
Deery was an interested onlooker at last week’s preliminary final and left with his confidence intact.
“The match wasn’t what I was expecting and both sides looked a bit flat to me,” he said.
“But I won’t read too much into that — a grand final is a grand final.”
Corryong coach Andrew Reid conceded the Demons would have to defy the underdog tag to claim their first flag since 2005.
“We will head into the clash as underdogs — which is the way we like it,” he said.
“We got smashed in the midfield in the second semi-final, but I don’t think we will play that badly again.
“It’s going to be crucial we get our match-ups in defence right.
“We were able to restrict Deery and Brendan McEvoy last time but Ben Hall and Jim Cleven bobbed up in their attack and hurt us.
“We believe our best is good enough — we proved that when we beat them by 10 goals in the last round.
“I can’t see why we couldn’t do it again.”
The Demons are set to welcome back Troy Cooper while the Blues could include Greg Wheeler, who has been missing since round 13 with a hamstring complaint.