SOME OF the region’s best young football talents will go head to head at Huntly on Saturday for the Heathcote and District Football League’s under 17 premiership.
Lockington Bamawm United finished second on the ladder and are favourites for the decider after booking their spot in the grand final with a hard-fought win against North Bendigo, but Leitchville-Gunbower has made a brilliant run to the big dance from fifth on the ladder and is confident of another upset.
LBU under 17’s coach Matt Dunham was proud of his side’s season seeing them go above and beyond expectations.
‘‘They’ve risen above the goals and expectations I’ve set for them and they’ve been rewarded with this grand final,’’ he said.
‘‘I come from a strong football background and I’ve set challenging goals for them, and they’ve ticked them all off.’’
Dunham was convinced, win or lose, the junior success at the club would take it forward in the coming years.
‘‘It’s very, very exciting and the best part with our new senior coach (Kahl Oliver) coming in is he puts a massive emphasis on junior development and retention — not retaining a certain percentage, maintaining 100 per cent of our kids,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re a very young side, the median age is right on 15, so the next couple of seasons will be quite exciting.
‘‘We’ve had some struggles with Leitchville-Gunbower, it’s been a bit of a psychological battle but now having a full side we are quietly very confident. We’ve done our homework, and coming away from that we’re really confident and excited after the season we’ve had.’’
LBU has played daring football throughout the season, taking the game on with aggressive kicks to wrestle momentum back its way.
But Leitchville-Gunbower is buoyed by its recent wins, winning three finals to make the decider after finishing fifth.
The run to the grand final culminated with a brilliant win against North Bendigo in last Saturday’s preliminary final; the Bombers won a thrilling contest 45-35 after the sides were tied at 22 at the final change.