Can BITS make it a three-peat again as underdogs?
AUSSIE RULES: Veteran BITS Saints utility Keith 'Billy' Bilston hinted should his team beat Yeppoon Swans in this afternoon's reserves AFL Capricornia grand final - it would be his best yet.
The Saints face red-hot favourites Swans for the third successive year in the big dance and could potentially be three-peat winners.
"I looked at last year's grand final side and there are 14 players missing from that side to the one that will play in this team," Bilston said.
"The home-and-away season was up and down because we had so many younger players, some who have not played before and some who have returned back to playing."
Of those who have not played is code-switcher Kyle Mongta who played rugby league for Tannum Seagulls.
"He's played six or seven games and is just getting better and better and has a great left-foot kick on him," Bilston said.
Bilston will play in his 16th senior grand final while experienced teammate Daniel Boase will front up for the 20th time.
Classy playmaker Thaiday Reuben returns for BITS.
Bilston said Reuben, along with Tim and Chris Faux, would be important in the midfield.
"Our back six has been consistent throughout the course of the season," he said.
"Yeppoon have Jake Meyer and Jake Gallagher who both kicked a lot of goals and also Wes Hawke and Wes Kelly."
'Billy' remained tight-lipped with the match-ups but said he was likely to play forward and hoped to repeat his efforts in last week's win against Rockhampton Brothers.
He booted four second-half goals in a match-winner performance.
"My back-line performance last week was pretty average before I went forward," Bilston said.
The man who wears zinc cream on his nose said he was excited to see youngsters Caleb Lusty, Adam Hull and Corey Tostevin prosper at senior level.
"They all played either A-grade or reserves and some will play in the first-ever final," Bilston said.
"We have a good mix of youth and experience and the youth will have no fear playing in a grand final.
"Guys like Surreal Norriss, he wasn't sure if he would play at the start of the season and now he's to play in his first grand final."
Rockhampton Cricket Ground
U13: BITS v Yeppoon @ 8.30am
U15: Yeppoon v Panthers @ 9.50am
U17: BITS v Yeppoon @ 11.25am
Res: BITS v Yeppoon @ 1.20am
Women: Panthers v Brothers @ 3.30pm
A-grade: Yeppoon v Panthers @ 5.30pm
By Brad Matheson - AFL Capricornia
U13s: Yeppoon Swans (3rd) vs BITS Saints (2nd)
Previous meetings: Round 1, Saints by 75 points; Round 6, Saints by 43 points; Round 11, Saints by 38 points.
BITS: Max Marsh. The big- bodied midfielder has a full bag of tricks, at the ripe old age of 13. Standing noticeably taller than most of his opponents, he has great aerial skills to complement that height, but is just as damaging at ground level and has great stamina. BITS have plenty of attacking weapons across the park and this year's under-13 best and fairest is just one of them.
Yeppoon: Alex Ceracchi. The young skipper leads by example and never gives up the fight, ensuring his team-mates remain positive right to the end. A very good midfielder, he also possesses the ability to kick goals and is disciplined enough to push back in defence when needed. Ceracchi is surrounded by a very well-balanced team with ability right across the ground.
Summary: Despite finishing second on the ladder, the Saints have been one of the most devastating teams in the under-13 competition and have the ability to put on big scores when given the opportunity. The dynamic duo of Marsh and Ty Fitzgerald have proven a handful for most midfield oppositions and they will again be a big part of this game if given the opportunity. The Swans have been gathering momentum as the season has progressed and find themselves in the grand final after a come- from-behind win against Gladstone in the elimination final and then victory over minor premiers Brothers last weekend in the preliminary final. Considering the Swans' form in recent weeks, the Saints will have to be at their best. We're set for a great start to grand final day with this match-up.
U17: BITS (2nd) vs Glenmore (3rd)
Previous meetings: Round 3, BITS by 6 points; Round 8, BITS by 95 points; Round 13, BITS by 55 points.
BITS: Ryan Shanks. Despite Mason Gates being a comfortable winner in this year's best-and-fairest count, Shanks is noteworthy for the direction he provides the team. He has the ability to lift all of those around him. A hard midfielder, Shanks always finds himself close to the action and continues to rack up possessions without being a "flashy" player. His leadership and direction from the middle of the ground will be vital to his team's hopes on Saturday.
Glenmore: Jayren Willie. He is a genuine leader of this group both on and off the field. Since his start in the game two years ago, he has never wavered in his dedication to improving his skills. That commitment was rewarded this year when Willie was named in the under-16 state team. A deceptive player with the ball in hand, he has a great burst of speed and the ability to evade would-be tacklers. Very level-headed for his age and has a great ability to offer advice and encouragement to his team-mate when most needed.
Summary: The Bulls are the real feel-good story of this year's grand final day matches, but they certainly won't be resting on their laurels. After the club's struggle to field a team in this age bracket for several years, this weekend is reward for hard work and they will be desperate to finish the season off on the highest note. They showed last weekend against a classy Swans outfit that they have what it takes to lift when challenged, but they will have to fire again against the Saints. The Saints have a quality list of youth footballers in this age group and are blessed with attacking players all over the field. They have the firepower up forward to put a big score on opponents, but are also tough and gritty in defence and rarely allow sides the opportunity to score. The Bulls will have to make the most of the opportunities they get this weekend and ensure the Saints don't get away to a dominant start.