Werribee Bears Men's Finals Preview
Only one point stood between the Werribee Bears and a qualifying final.
The men in red and black will now suit up for a do-or-die final against the Altona Roosters, in a bid to keep their 2022 season alive for one more week.
The Bears will be left to rue a handful of narrow losses throughout the regular season that saw them just miss out on the safety blanket that a top-two finish promises.
A missed conversion from the sideline after the siren saw the Bears fall agonisingly short of what would've been a remarkable victory against the Truganina Rabbitohs in Round 6.
Three weeks later it was a last-gasp try from Panthers half Darcy Peel that handed the Bears a two-point loss, a defeat that ultimately would go on to separate the two sides at the conclusion of the regular season.
However, in typical Werribee fashion the side didn't drop their heads, flipping the script in Round 12 with a 24-20 win over the then undefeated Truganina Rabbitohs to show they weren't just here to make up the numbers in 2022.
With a strong forward pack, slick outside backs and talented hooker Tyrese Weatherby always threatening in and around the ruck, the Bears certainly have the strike power to challenge for the title.
While injuries have hurt them in recent weeks, they've shown already this year that once they feel the momentum swing their way, they're a handful to stop.
Werribee Bears half Zachary Holstein said despite the challenges thrown their way this year, the entire Bears club has rallied together in order to make finals football a possibility.
"We didn't really have a team until two weeks before the season started but we've had a lot of young fellas coming through and while we've had a few injuries lately and that's made things tough, we've been lucky to have the third-grade guys come and step up," Holstein said.
With a number of younger heads in and around the group, Holstein said that finding consistency is key.
"We play really good matches but sometimes we dont play to the potential we know we can reach," he said.
"With the young guys they can go up and down, if we can play the footy I know we can play then I believe we can beat anyone in the competition."
Looking ahead to this Saturday's game against Altona, Holstein said his side can expect Altona to be up for the fight in what is set to be a hard-fought match from start to finish.
"Now it's finals the comp starts again, so if we can string three games together we can absolutely win the premiership," he said.
"Finals probably just adds that little bit more pressure on gameday, it could go either way but I think we've just got to go out and play our best footy."
"The biggest thing will be for our few older heads to start strong in that first 10-20 minutes as it'll give those younger blokes the confidence to go and win the game."
"It's gonna be a really hard game as we have a bit of history with Altona which will add some extra feeling so I'm really looking forward to it."