The countdown to the preliminary final is finally over
AUSSIE RULES: The wait is finally over.
By 6pm today, we will know who out of minor premiership winners Hervey Bay Bombers and perennial underdogs Bay Power will contest the September 1 grand final at Torquay's Norm McLean Oval.
Everything the teams have worked on since pre-season started late last year, the hundreds of kilometres and countless footballs they've kicked, bounced and handballed, will culminate in today's AFL Wide Bay preliminary final.
The Bombers, Power, and Gympie Cats finished in a three-way tie for first, though the superior percentage allowedthe Bombers to finish first. Gympie jagged the first place in the grand final after last week's 10-point qualifying win, but Bombers coach Darren Hunter is confident that will not happen again should his side succeed today.
"The boys are fit, strong, mentally ready, they know what they can do and if they get over Bay Power, God help Gympie," Hunter said.
"They're ready for that. Bay Power is a talented side, they run the footy really well. They're stopping us, we're stopping them, so it's going to be a cracking game."
The Power won the first game between the two, a come-from-behind 14-point win on Anzac Day at Maryborough's Port City Park.
The Bombers didn't let that happen again. They steam-rolled the Power in their other two games: a 56-point win at Keith Dunne Oval sent the first message, before a 27-point win at Norm McLean Oval triggered a three-game losing run for the Urangan club.
Power coach Michael Gay, in his fifth season at the club, said those games would not impact his side.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Gay said. "(Past results don't influence preparation) a lot from a coaching perspective, I'd probably say not from a player's point of view either.
"This is an entirely new season now. We just need to keep winning games.
"We're looking at it as we need to win a game of footy."
Hervey Bay Bombers will attempt to turn Brothers AFL Complex into its own home ground, with five teams set to contest preliminary finals.
It will be red v black in the under-12s at 8am, and a Bombers-Power derby in U14s from 9.30am. Across The Waves face Brothers Bulldogs in the U16s (from 11am) before the Bombers take on the Bulldogs in reserves from 1pm. The senior game will start at 3pm.