THE Macleay Valley Rangers will go into tomorrow's Football Mid North Coast Premier League grand final as underdogs, despite a seven-goal demolition earlier this season against their opponents.
The Kempsey-based club hopes to land its maiden first and reserve grades major premiers double at the Harry Elliott Oval, Forster.
Both sides will meet their counterparts from the Taree Wildcats club in their respective matches.
The senior team beat Taree 7-0 earlier this year. It was the Wildcats' only defeat of the season, but coach Dean Riordan believes there is little chance of repeating the scoreline.
"We smashed them and even had a player sent off when we were 4-0 up, halfway through the second half," he said. "We played brilliantly and just about every shot on target went in. That result shook them up and they haven't lost since."
After a dire start to the season - due in no small part to the loss of key players and relatively young and inexperienced replacements - Rangers gained momentum to finish runners-up on the Mid North Coast Soccer first grade ladder.
Jeremy Masters broke an eightgame scoring drought last weekend in style, heading twice to give the side a 2-0 win against Wallis Lakes and a visit to the Harry Elliott Oval at Forster for the grand final.
Riordan said Rangers could expect the Wildcats to play the route one, long-ball game that has served them so well this season.
"We play attractive football and like to pass the ball around," he said. "We'll need to close down their long balls and striker Ricky Campbell. If we can close him down and the guys that feed him, we'll go a long way to winning the game."
The coach is confident most otherwise neutral spectators will cheer on the Rangers tomorrow.
Riordan thanked club sponsors Kempsey Retravision, and team sponsors Coastline Credit Union, Holiday Coast Tilt Trays, KFC Kempsey and L-Bo Butchery for their support.
"Without them we'd be snookered," he said.
The reserve grade team secured the minor premiership.
Kick-off times are 12.45pm for reserve grade, and 2.45pm for first grade.