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By KRISTEN ALEBAKIS
NOT many people outside of the Sunshine Football Club would have thought the team from Kinder Smith Reserve would play-off in the Division 1 Grand Final this year.
However, those within the four walls of the club knew that something special was building in 2017 and Sunshine now find themselves preparing for the final game of the year.
After 18 rounds of the home and away season, the Kangaroos found themselves in third place on the ladder, having won 13 games.
At the same point last year, they were seventh on the ladder and had won just five games.
Coach Barney Hallinan said not one player, coach, committee member or supporter had lost sight of their ultimate goal in the past 12 months, and now the club is set to take on the four-time reigning premiers, Deer Park, in the final game of the year.
“I am a very proud senior football coach,” he said.
“From November last year to now, we set ourselves a goal of being a highly competitive football team with the ambition of playing finals. From where we were this time last year to now, has shown we have grown as a football club and embraced the challenge that we set some time ago.
“The season has been a huge success, and all involved at the Sunshine Football Club should be very proud of what we have achieved to this moment.”
Hallinan said one the biggest changes the club has faced over the past few years, was the players’ understanding and readiness to play team footy in a structured game plan.
“We have grown over the past three years to know each other’s role within the team,” he said.
“The past is the past and we can’t change that, so the players embraced a new challenge of looking forward and playing with the grit and effort to be the best versions of themselves.”
Hallinan said winning a premiership would mean a lot to their community. He says the club has been optimistic about their chances throughout the finals series.
“We believe in each other and what our core values are,” he said.
“The preparation will be exactly the same as any other week, with the only difference being the team we are playing. It will be about the process of winning this week.”