“It’s Inverleigh’s to lose”

Lui Zacher
September 9, 2022 / 11:11 pm


BANNOCKBURN co-coach Ron Pilgrim has put the pressure on Inverleigh heading into Saturday’s GDFNL grand final, declaring it’s the Hawks’ premiership “to lose”.

The Tigers will enter the clash as underdogs, having lost to their arch-rivals on all three occasions in 2022, including by 42 points in the qualifying final.

On that day, Imverleigh had 31 scoring shots, with only the Hawks’ inaccuracy preventing a blowout margin.

However, Pilgrim, who played in eight grand finals for just three wins, is taking some heart from Barwon Heads’ performance in the Bellarine league.

The Seagulls turned around a 75-point second semi-final loss to Torquay and beat the Tigers by 55 points in the decider.

“When you’re going in as favourites, there’s a bit of added pressure,” he said. “I’ve been there and failed because of that added pressure.

“It’s Inverleigh’s to lose on a lot of levels, and we’re the underdogs. I like that.

“And Barwon Heads proved that if you can come in with aggression, composure, and pressure, anything can happen on that day.”

Pilgrim said Bannockburn’s pressure would be crucial to it causing an upset.

“We’ve got to have that pressure all day; not just for the first 2-3 minutes,” he said.

“I think any side that gets a jump in the grand final gets an advantage.

“Our model all week has been that intense pressure from go to whoa.”

Captain Daniel Measures successfully negotiated training during the week and will return after missing the wins over Bell Post Hill and East Geelong that earned Bannockburn another shot at Inverleigh.

Pilgrim confirmed Tom Bath was the unlucky player to be squeezed out for the former Queenscliff and St Joseph’s star.

Bath managed ten senior games for the season, including the wins over the Panthers and Eagles, after being overlooked for the qualifying final.

“It was pretty tough for Tom, but he’s been up and down with work,” Pilgrim said.

“He works for Metro Trains and hasn’t consistently been able to get there.

“It was pretty tough because not only is he a reasonable footballer, he’s just a ripping fella.

“He took it OK, but (he’s) definitely disappointed.”