It's not quite a case of David versus Goliath, but Figtree certainly appears to hold the edge on paper heading into this year's Men's Premier Division decider on Saturday.
A powerhouse of the AFL South Coast competition, the Kangaroos can strengthen their legacy even further as they eye off a third successive premiership at North Dalton Park. Led by the combination of playing-coach Michael Coleman and captain Jacob Hennessy, Figgy have managed to keep the bulk of their squad together in recent years on their way to dominating the division.
Conversely, standing in their way on Saturday is a young and inexperienced Northern Districts outfit. However, these young Tigers have continued to reach uncharted ground in 2023.
That victory came a fortnight after Norths claimed a thrilling four-point win over Figtree in the last round of the regular season.
"The boys are feeling amped. I haven't been in a grand final for 10 plus years so we're keen for it. The boys have been putting in the effort and to build and build over the last two years - and to finally get here - it's a massive achievement," Norths captain Brodie Ryan told the Mercury.
"It was nice to get that monkey off the back (against Figtree), but they're the benchmark and they have been for the past few years now. It was definitely a good feeling to get that win over them, but this week is the one that matters. And it's not going to be easy for us.
"They're pretty dangerous all over the board, they're a very strong side. But we'll bring our A-game and we'll see how we go."
Meanwhile, the Kangaroos are feeling relaxed as they prepare to play in their fourth successive grand final.
After falling to the Wollongong Lions in the 2019 decider, Figtree came back the following year and thumped the Bulldogs by 104 points in the big dance. The 2021 season was then cancelled due to COVID, before the Roos claimed back-to-back titles with a four-goal win over the Bulldogs last September.
Standing in their way in 2023 is a new opponent, Northern Districts. Figgy vice-captain Benjamin Ryan said he expected an intriguing battle on Saturday.
"I think it will be a really good match-up with the Tigers - they've been playing some really good football. I'm really happy for them because they've only improved over the last few years and they're a good bunch of guys," Ryan said.
"But it's been another good year for us. We're always constantly looking to improve, and not just be happy with what we've done over the years. Every year, every training session, we've been looking to get better."
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