Diggers v Lions: Pressure is on for Gympie's last decider
Football: The rivalry will continue for one last time between the Lions and Diggers at today's grand final.
As Football Gympie joins the Sunshine Coast Football Competition, this will be the last time the grand finals will be held in Gympie.
During the regular season, Lions red and Diggers have been neck and neck.
The two have battled for the top two spots all year.
Josh Rigby (Diggers captain/forward) and Dhingi Malek (Lions forward) have fought all year for first spot on the top goal scorers ladder.
"They have been neck and neck all season but Dhingi will definitely try and snag a couple,” Lions coach Kylie Wheeler said.
Wheeler will head into her third grand final match with a perfect record, coaching two under-16s sides in the past two year.
"The pressure is on. I am going for the hat-trick,” she said.
But the Diggers will aim to spoil that party, according to Diggers coach Kevin McGrath.
"These boys have led the competition pretty much all year and at times played with eight players from injuries and people being away,” McGrath said.
"We have had a week off and played straight through and that puts the mockers on a lot of teams but we have been talking about complacency.”
With the two sides down on numbers, it is not unfamiliar territory.
"We are down a few players. One is out because of sickness and the other has had minor surgery but we will be down to one sub,” McGrath said.
"It is going to be hot and it is going to be a hard, vigorous game.”
Lions, in a similar position, have been hit with injuries to their key players.
"Our (goal) keeper broke his arm, another player broke his arm, one rolled his ankle and another broken arm last week,” Wheeler said.
"We are down to just 10 players. Having 11 on the field is not easy, so we have relied on juniors filling in for us.
"They have struggled with subbing but are used to it now. They have worked really hard and training two days a week, so their fitness is up there.”
The temperature is predicted to reach a top of 30C, and with kick-off at almost midday, hydration is going to be important.
"Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. They are old enough now, they will know when to expend and when to rest,” McGrath said.
Lions have been drinking extra water in the lead-up to the grand final, to prepare for the heat.
"They will have to stay hydrated. I told the parents and they (players) have been drinking extra water so they are used to it today,” Wheeler said.
"I don't think the heat will affect them too much because that is the time they are used to playing.”
Both coaches predicted a close tough game.
"I think there is only going to be a goal in it. The last 15 minutes, which team is winning will need to hold on or the other can snag a late goal,” Wheeler said.
"Their (Diggers) key is their midfield and our key is defence, so hopefully we can hold out.”
McGrath said the second half would be crucial.
"(Today) is going to be about conservation of energy and maintaining the intensity,” he said. "Second half is going to count for everything.”
DJ Glenn Alexander will create a party atmosphere as Football Gympie finishes off the season.