‘Little bit surreal’: Swans eyes on national record in final
AFL: When Mark Wallin took the helm at the Yeppoon Swans senior men’s team in 2014, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined where he and his team now stand.
On Saturday, they have the chance to etch their names into national sporting legend.
If the Swans beat BITS Saints in the AFL Capricornia senior men’s grand final at Swan Park, they will claim the record for the most consecutive wins in AFL history.
Their 132-point semi-final win over Glenmore last week drew them equal with South Australia’s Heathfield-Aldgate, which set the record of 88 straight wins in the 1970s.
A win on Saturday would also deliver the Swans a record sixth straight AFLC flag.
Wallin said it still felt a “little bit surreal” but he had been constantly reminded this week as he fielded calls from media outlets from across the country.
He admitted he was feeling a little bit of pressure but said if his players were, they weren’t showing it.
If things go the Swans’ way on Saturday, it would be a magnificent achievement for Wallin and one made even more special given his son Matt captains the team.
Another family duo also features in the record bid – brothers Tommy and Leigh Cossens, both of whom will have a huge influence on the result.
Coach Wallin knows he has the line-up to get the result.
“This is possibly the best side that I’ve coached, and definitely the best team I’ve taken into a grand final in my time,” he said.
“It’s a ripper team.
“They just want to get out there and play footy. They’re keen to get a win and get the premiership and the record.
“It couldn’t really have been scripted any better, with the chance to do it in a home grand final.”
Wallin said the key for the Swans was just backing themselves and delivering what they had all season.
“We’ve got such a powerful looking side on paper, now it’s about producing the goods on the ground,” he said.
“If we go out there and play as well as the paper suggests we should be able to then we should get the job done.”
Wallin knows that a strong BITS outfit would be more than happy to spoil the party.
“Boyne Island are a very good side. They’ve been the one club that has challenged us for so many years and no doubt they will again on Saturday.
“They will be quietly confident that they’ve got what it takes to beat us.
“It’s going to be tough, grand finals always are early on.
“The battle of the middle is where the game will be decided.”
And the Swans boast one of the best midfields in the game, led by their imposing ruckman Jamie Garner.
Wallin cannot overstate his importance.
“He’s the man for us. If Jamie has a big game, we will have a big game.
“If he can dominate, if he gets on top and starts giving our talented midfield brigade first use of the ball out of the middle, that could well decide it.”
The Swans and BITS face off at 5.15pm, the last game on an action-packed finals program that starts at 8.30am.
AFL Capricornia grand final program at Swan Park, Yeppoon
8.30am Saturday: Under 13.5, Yeppoon v Gladstone
9.50am Saturday: Under 15.5, BITS v Yeppoon
11.30am Saturday: Under 17.5, Glenmore v Panthers
1.10pm Saturday: Reserve grade, Yeppoon v BITS
3.10pm Saturday: Senior women, Glenmore v Brothers
5.15pm Saturday: Senior men, Yeppoon v BITS