Birregurra and South Colac football captains Jack Melican and Daniel Roberts share vivid memories of the two teams’ last encounter on grand final day.
It was 2011, and the Saints won a titanic battle by three points, ending a 17-year premiership drought for the club.
Young Birregurra leader Melican was watching his soon-to-be senior teammates from the sidelines, proudly wearing a premiership medallion after helping the Saints to an under-17.5 grand final win.
Roberts, a homegrown talent of South, returned to the club that season and immediately found himself on the brink of success after a four-year stint at Cobden.
The respected midfielder said making an unexpected decider in 2011 gave him a false sense of hope, with five years passing before his next, and a string of heartbreaking finals defeats in-between.
“It was pretty exciting because South didn’t make finals the year before,” Roberts said of the 2011 campaign.
“I think you can take it for granted a bit and just think it’s going to come around all the time.
“We’ve played finals ever since then but only made prelims, so it’s very exciting we’re back in one, and hopefully we can make the most of it.”
Melican has also faced grand final misery, lining up in the Saints’ devastating 103-point loss to Simpson in 2014.
The 22-year-old took on the captaincy the following season, and said his teammates were eager to make amends for the 2014 drubbing.
“Since we got beaten by Simpson a couple of years ago, it’s always been a goal to get back in,” Melican said.
“We were disappointed finishing fifth last year because we thought we could give it a bit of a shake, but this year we’ve got a few blokes on board and had a pretty good year to date.”
Melican said he had long-held ambitions of becoming a senior Birregurra premiership player, joining his father Damian, a life member of the club.
“I was only young, but I remember those dry periods when we used to get belted,” he said.
“In 2011 we got to taste the junior flag when the seniors won theirs as well.
“You want to do it at senior level and obviously at Birre would be something special, plus I think there are four or five of us that played in that junior premiership, so it’d be nice to share it with them.