Sport

Blues ready for final battle

By Andrew Johnston

IT HAS been 28 years since Tongala last made an appearance in a senior grand final.

Even longer since the Blues held a premiership cup aloft.

Claiming back-to-back Goulburn Valley League flags in 1983 and 1984, the Blues have been waiting for 35 long years to hang another flag in the rafters.

Now, after producing a miracle in their preliminary final contest against Numurkah on Sunday afternoon, the Blues are back in the big dance - this time in the Murray Football League.

Trailing badly late in the final quarter of the prelim, the Blues made a late charge to lock up their clash with Numurkah in the final minutes, before a single point from Coby McCarthy saw the Blues take the smallest - but most perfect - of leads.

Seemingly from the moment the final siren rang, Jordan Souter - the man who has guided his side back to the promised land - had mentally moved on, even as his town celebrated one of the best wins in their history.

He was already awaiting his next opportunity.

"We are pretty stoked with the performance," he said.

"But we can't get ahead of ourselves We will lap it up for what it's worth today and enjoy the moment, but tomorrow it's business as usual. We've got a grand final to front up for next week against the powerhouse club of our competition, there is no bigger challenge."

That powerhouse is the purple reign of Nathalia.

The Purples have won nine of the past 14 premierships in the Murray League, beginning with four in a row, and currently sitting on four in a row.

The Purples have lost one game for the year in 2019,and have won their two clashes in the finals by a combined 80 points.

"They are an incredible football side," he said.

"Over time they have built a magnificent dynasty as a team, and I honestly cannot see anyone ending it any time soon unless they play near-perfect football.

"They all know each other, they know how everyone moves, what their strengths are and how they can work best to deliver success to their club. They’re just that good."

But while the Purples have been the kings of the competition for sometime, Tonny is refusing to back away from the challenge.

"We know it's going to be incredibly tough," he said.

"There is no doubt if we are going to win this game of football, absolutely everything is going to have to go right for us this week. We will have to play our best football, we will need to give it our all."

But the Blues also know they have the entire town behind them.

"It's a brilliant feeling," he said.

"The whole town is invested, not only in us but in the entire club. We are hoping to deliver something that is not only for us, but is for the entire town of Tongala."