GLENCOE coach Zacc Cocks should cap his coaching career with the ultimate team prize as his Murphies will narrowly defeat the Kalangadoo Magpies in the Mid South East Football League grand final at “Mick” and Jean Walker Oval at Mount Burr on Saturday.
After spending three years at the helm of his home club, Cocks will stand down at game’s end, but will continue as a player in 2020.
Cocks has re-built the oldest club in the MSEFL after it languished in the second-to-bottom position at the end of 2016.
After another two seasons in the football wilderness, his Murphies have never been lower than third for all of 2019.
The return of players of the calibre of Alex Hentschke, Lachie Medhurst, Tory Weaver and Patrick Mitchell has transformed the 109-year-old club along with the addition of record-breaking full-forward Brodie Foster.
With 117 goals from his 17 games, Foster has delighted crowds and provided many headaches for opposition backmen.
There has just been one appearance this season when Foster has booted less than three goals and the umpires gave him enough votes to finish equal third in the Mail Medal.
There was plenty of silverware heading in Glencoe’s direction at the Mail Medal function held at the Millicent War Memorial Civic and Arts Centre.
Cocks was named as the coach of the year, with ruckman Matt Kasparian named as the vice-captain.
Foster, Hentschke and Dylan Childs also secured berths in this group.
The 2019 MSEFL major round may go down as the survival of the fittest as both Glencoe and Kalangadoo have 95pc of their respective teams available for selection.
Injuries ruined the chances of both reigning premiers Robe and minor premiers Hatherleigh.
Not only did the Roosters and the Eagles have players sidelined with injuries, they also lost players to injury during play in their finals.
For Glencoe, the only first-choice player who is unavailable is forward Adam Gregory who has not played for a few months after hurting his back.
The Murphies have struck form at the business end of the season and are well-placed to end a premiership drought dating back to 2007.
The only current Glencoe player to have sung the club’s victory song after a grand final has been defender Trent Hawke.
Another bonus for the Murphies is they have their B Grade also playing on grand final day.
With the benefit of an extra week’s break, the maroon-and-golds are the clear favourite.
They will face a quality opponent which lost five games during the minor round and dropped out of the top four for a brief period mid-season.
Like the Murphies, the Magpies have hit top form at the business end of the season and nearly have a full list available for selection.
Most successful sporting teams profit from an ounce of luck and it came to the black-and-whites in the form of a bye in round 18.
This allowed coach Chrissy Mules and 2016 Mail medallist Jack Casey some extra time to recover from niggling injuries.
Mules and his elder brother Ben played in Kalangadoo’s past two flags in 2001 and 2014.
Members of the current Kalangadoo team who played in the season decider five years ago are Jonny Mules, Michael Krieger, Brad Auld, Tyler Jones, Andrew Stone, Mitch Lowe, Jack Casey, Dallas Jeffree and Jason Bannister.
Its members of the 2019 MSEFL team of the year were Bannister, Stone and Sam McManus.
The Magpies have now played in six consecutive major rounds and the value of this experience should not be discounted.
While Kalangadoo lacks the consistent firepower of a Brodie Foster in attack, it does hold some psychological advantages over Glencoe.
The Murphies have lost their past 12 games to the Magpies and this Saturday could be the unlucky 13th consecutive loss.
The losing trot for Glencoe began in round 13 on July 13 of 2013 and that unlucky number 13 is again prominent.
The last time Glencoe played in a grand final at Mount Burr was in 2008 when it attempted to defend its premiership.
However, a David Green inspired Hatherleigh had a blockbuster lead of 43 points by quarter time and his Eagles held on to achieve a 17-point victory.
One more statistic which is unpalatable to supporters of Glencoe is the team’s last grand final against Kalangadoo at Port MacDonnell in 1983 resulted in a loss.
The football rivalry between the Magpies and the Murphies dates back 92 years and to the second-ever match played by the Kalangadoo Football Club.
Competing in the Mount Gambier B Grade Association and played at Kalangadoo, the result was a three-point loss to the Murphies.
However, the 1927 season finished well for Kalangadoo with a premiership pennant.
Rain is forecast for Saturday and this will help the Magpies.
However, there will be no happy ending for the Magpies this Saturday as Foster will give his team the winning edge.