Bingera fancied to win the final
GRAND finals are tough on the players, physically and mentally. The pressure of having a premiership trophy riding on the result can either bring the best out of someone or force them not to play as well as they can.
When Bingera and Moore Park clash in the women's Division 1 grand final tonight at Martens Oval, the tension players feel, and how they deal with it, will be a big part of the final score.
Bingera goes into the game as favourites after a stunning season of success that included the Three Cities premiership, while Moore Park is the underdog after losing several senior players in the middle of the season.
Motivation has not been a problem for Bingera. Soon after the Three Cities win team captain Madelyn McCracken said winning the Bundaberg premiership was the next goal.
Bingera coach Alex Farrell said she knew Moore Park was a good team and what would be the key to victory.
"We need to make sure we take charge of the game and score early," Farrell said.
"We have to stick to the way we've been playing."
With an experienced group of senior players at her disposal, Farrell knows there is plenty of ability in the squad to get the job done. The energetic juniors were ready to step up a level, too.
The performances of under-16s Ariana Nicholls, Michaela Schuler and Jessica Nankivell have been great in 2014, and if the trio play well to back up players like McCracken, Sally Thurston and Emma Haack, Bingera will be tough to beat.
Reigning champion Moore Park has a vastly different team than in 2013. Like many teams in country areas it lost players who moved away in between seasons, but mid-season injuries really took their toll on the club.
Senior players Tanya McKee (ankle) and Sarah Bretag (knee) were lost to season-ending injuries, and despite Bretag not playing in the grand final, she is no less nervous.
Bretag had three words on how it felt watching her teammates prepare for the grand final.
"It really sucks," she said through gritted teeth.
She was proud of the way the younger players stood up and provided the leadership the team needed in her absence and she said playing Bingera meant her team had to do one particular thing.
"I'm nervous about the game and I'm not even playing," she said. "We need to outsmart them - there will be no excuses because they are quite capable."
The game kicks off at 8.15 tonight.