By Jessica Howard
The biggest grand final day rivalry in the Ballarat Football League’s history is about to be unleashed.
Cross-town rivals Darley and Bacchus Marsh will face down in both the reserve and senior football grand finals this weekend.
A first in BFL history, the two clubs will go head to head at Mars Stadium in Ballarat, with both senior teams chasing their second premiership flag.
The Devils broke a 20-year drought to claim its maiden senior premiership in 2015. They were first to progress through to this year’s grand final after an impressive 98-point win over Bacchus Marsh in the second semi-final.
However, the reigning premiers set up the cross-town rivalry following a 36-point win over Lake Wendouree on Saturday.
Darley Football Club President, Ray Newton said the results were unprecedented.
“A Marsh-Darley grand final has never happened before and premierships are few and far between, let alone potentially taking out two premierships with both the [seniors] and the reserves,” he said.
“[This] is a huge benefit to the town as we are a real football town, you’ve just got to look at the crowds to know that”.
Bacchus Marsh Football Club President, Adam Sutherland said it was fantastic to see both clubs getting recognition throughout the league.
“When you make it this far, you’re obviously excited to be up against anyone, but being a Bacchus Marsh-Darley grand final, it obviously has a bit more edge,” he said.
“This is a town of 20-odd thousand and we’ve got players going up against the big boys in Ballarat and Melton, so it’s a credit to both clubs to have two teams in two grand finals.
“Bacchus Marsh [has had] seven teams make a grand final this year across junior, senior and women’s football. You’d be hard pressed to find any other club out there with numbers like that”.
The BFL grand final will kick off between the Bacchus Marsh and Darley reserves this Saturday at 11:20am, followed by the seniors at 2:30pm.
Newton said it would mean “everything” to see the club take home a second premiership flag.
“For us to be in two grand finals in three years – one being a premiership win – is just so good for the club. This is a very strong position we are in and it is simply because we’re a club with arguably the most amount of supporters, members and sponsors.
“If we can bring another flag home this weekend we would celebrate well into the next season”.