The Collie Eagles surprised a few football fans when they strolled into the grand final a fortnight ago with a comfortable win over the minor premiers.
But dedicated Eagles supporters will gladly tell you their side have been building something special all season.
Collie flew under the radar early in the rounds of the year but finished the regular season third on the ladder with 13 wins.
But the Eagles made everyone sit up and take notice during the first week of the finals, with a three point win over HBL. The spotlight focused in tighter when Collie defeated South Bunbury during the semi finals to earn a week’s break.
League coach Clint Swallow said the team were really good in that game with the players sticking to the plan.
“They knew what their role was and what to do in their role and not to go away from that, they put it into place very well,” he said.
“It was a funny sort of day because it felt like we had control of the game and that we were in control all of the way through. Some days you are sort of fighting against it but we felt in control that day and the players were very good.”
It’s been just three years since the Eagles made their last grand final and the fast rebuild is a testament to Swallow’s work as coach.
He has moulded the list to bring the best out of each individual, getting them to work as a cohesive unit capable to taking apart sides who underestimate them.
“I think we have played really well this season, we have improved tremendously from where we were at the start of the year to where we are now,” he said.
“We have a young group of guys who need a bit of discipline and direction on where we are going to go and how we are going to play, and they have gradually embraced it.
“At times they have put it into play and it has been really outstanding and other times they have been found out and had goals kicked against us on an easy basis, so when you look at it from that perspective to where we are now the improvement has been massive.”
Captain Matt Blackford, who has been back to his best form this season, said it has been pleasing to see the side continue to improve.
“The coaches have put a few things in place like game plans, structures and things like that, that we have been working too and they seem to be working for us,” he said.
“We’ve had a really good season, we played the way that we set out to play, nice hard-contested footy.”
This Sunday, look for Collie to try and win the contested ball early and get themselves on the board quickly. If they achieve this and continue to work as a team as they have done all year, they are every chance of making the trophy their own.