MINOR premier Koroit’s quest for an eighth straight grand final berth kicks off this Saturday when the Saints take on North Warrnambool Eagles in the Hampden league’s second semi-final.
The Saints have become the competition’s most decorated team over the past decade, winning six successive flags in a stretch from 2014 to 2019, with a record seventh looming following another top-of-table finish to the home and away season.
The Chris McLaren-coached outfit is just two wins away from glory but will need to overcome its 2019 grand final opponent to earn a direct passage into the grand final.
The Saints have won both of the pair’s home and away clashes this year, but skipper Liam Hoy knows his side will face a much-stronger Eagles team this time around.
But the occasion is not set to faze him and his team-mates, who are eager to finally get its September campaign underway.
“We can’t wait,” Hoy said.
“It was a really tough game last week, North were very good for a long part of the game so it isn’t going to be easy.
“It’s finals footy so it’s going to go up a notch and as a team we need to step it up a bit to give it a good shake.
“We’re looking forward to it.”
Having won six straight flags and then endured two years interrupted by COVID, one could wonder if motivation may start to waver for the Saints.
But Hoy is quick to dismiss that notion, adding success was a dangling carrot the group craved for various reasons.
Change has been afoot at Victoria Park this year, with a host of younger players emerging through the ranks but the two-time Ron Hoy Medallist said their progression has only galvanised the group’s desire to win.
“There’s a lot of young lads coming through that have just bought into what has been built over the last seven years,” Hoy said.
“There’s a lot of individual reasons to share success with and motivation is certainly not lacking.
“I think the older boys are in a new phase of life, it was all footy in their younger life but now they’ve stepped into work life and are young fathers and sharing it with their families and creating memories.
“I think there is all those little things that have added up to another successful campaign and we just can’t wait to hopefully push for another one (flag).”
Meanwhile, South Warrnambool and Portland will look to keep their finals campaigns alive at Cobden Community Bank Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
The Roosters are looking to regroup quickly off the back of their elimination final loss to the Eagles but will take confidence into the contest having had the upperhand on the Tigers throughout the home and away rounds.
However, the boys from Portland are riding a wave of momentum after a historic first finals win in the elimination final and will be take belief into the contest against Mat Battistello’s group.
Both matches will start at 2pm and will be broadcast live on 3YB FM and live-streamed on the 3YB Facebook page.