The top-two from Hockey-Albury Wodonga division one women’s and men’s competitions will lock horns in grand finals at Albury Hockey Centre on Sunday.
Norths are gunning for consecutive men’s titles after breaking a lengthy drought against Wodonga last year.
Magpies await in this season’s decider and Norths’ coach Jeremy Payne has full confidence his side can rise to the occasion once more.
“With our team and the depth we have, as long as we get everyone involved and play as a unit, I think we can overcome them,” he said.
“Oscar Smart is always a key in the middle and some of our more inexperienced guys have been stepping up like Jarrad Crosbie, Mitch Blatchford and Matt Graham.”
Magpies’ coach Jeremy Maggs took plenty from the way his side played in a 3-2 against Norths in the major semi-final a fortnight ago.
“We’re happy with the underdog title, our boys are starting to fire at the right time of the year,” Maggs said.
“If we put our goals in we should have a fair chance and obviously they’ve got some absolute superstars that know where the goals are, so we’ve just got to shut them down.
“Jez (Payne), Justin (Ellis), Oscar (Smart) and ‘Beathy’ (Ian Beath) are the main guys, but they’ve got three quarters of the Spitfires squad and we’ve got a handful.”
League best and fairest Joe Forster is a hot favourite to win his club’s top honour after an outstanding season, while goalkeeper Ben Hawkins and young guns Ryley Walker and Noah Erdeljac are playing their best hockey.
Meanwhile, Falcons and Wodonga will meet in the division one women’s decider for the second straight season.
Falcons’ full back Merryn Smith said the group is feeling positive after its lead-up to finals and will be a good chance to reverse the result from last year.
“The last five or six or games we’ve been really strong defensively and managed to put the ball in the net at the end of the day,” she said.
“(Wodonga coach) Shae (Billingsley) will be one to watch and Hayley Hart is quick on the wing.
“Sally Borella is the competition’s leading goalscorer this year and our midfield is really strong with Mickayla (Blackshaw), Jess (Madden) and Kate Bardy, while Claire Wedgewood in goals has been on fire.”
Wodonga captain Teegan Gallagher is one of several Bulldogs’ players to feature for the Albury-Wodonga Spitfires this season, which she believes will hold the side in good stead.
“The flip side is we’re going to have fresh legs this weekend with no prior game and no soreness going on,” Gallagher said.
“Falcons have been so competitive all year and we play a really similar style, so it’s always going to be a tough match for us.
“Some of our younger players, Imogen Albon, Cassie Davis and Hayley Hart have really stepped it up this year, which has been great.”
The men’s match starts at 1.30pm and is followed by the women’s at 3.15pm.
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