After three previous attempts, Bryce Daenell is ready to get the ‘monkey off his back’ in Sunday’s Illawarra Premier League grand final.
The impressive Albion Park keeper will play in his fourth decider in the past five years when his White Eagles meet Kemblawarra Fury at WIN Stadium.
Daenell is yet to taste success in the top grade grand final after falling short three times while playing for Bulli.
Two of those have came against the Fury – in 2012 and 2014 – when they were known as Dapto-Dandaloo.
Daenell wants to reverse that trend in front of healthy crowd on the biggest day of the season.
“I am dying to win one after losing three,” he said.
“It would mean a lot.
“It has been a good club. I came here last year and they have been really good to me.
“I thought I needed a change up at the time.
“I think the club has had a few rough years as well so we are enjoying being at the top of the table again.
“I think everyone would get a lot from the win.”
Albion Park will go into the grand final against the Fury as favourites after beating the champions 1-0 in the major semi final less than a fortnight ago.
It’s a tag which is justifiable given the White Eagles’ rampant form throughout the second half of the campaign.
After starting the season moderately, Park went over the entire second round of fixtures unbeaten and would have made the Bert Bampton Cup final had it not been for an error of player ineligibility.
They carried that outstanding momentum into the post-season to book the club’s first grand final visit since they won the title back in 2008.
For Daenell, the grand final appearance was an inevitable conclusion given the strength of the White Eagles campaign.
“I always felt this was a team that could get to a decider,” he said.
“We had a really slow start and we had a few hiccups to begin the year, but with a new squad and a new coach you are always going to have that. It takes time to build.
“Ever since halfway through and a little bit before that we were playing some really good football. From then on we really kept building.”
A carpenter by trade, Daenell has been one of the competition’s leading gloveman for several seasons and is one of a few players in Park squad who have IPL grand final experience.
Despite his previous defeats, the 25-year-old was taking a relaxed approach to the biggest game of the campaign.
“We just have to keep doing what we are doing, we have to remember it is just another game of football at the end of the day,” he said.
“It is a big occasion, but at the end of the day, it is just another game and we have doing well at that so we have to keep doing what we doing.”
Albion Park held a training game with their youth squad last Sunday to keep up match sharpness for the decider.
IPL – Grand Final
Albion Park White Eagles vs Kemblawarra Fury