HASTINGS Valley Vikings know better than most that grand final day is a mixture of emotions.
The excitement, the build-up, the expectation, the reflection of a season that has just passed ... and then the result at the completion of 80 minutes.
That final result stays with you for those eight months between mid-August until April when you do it all again.
The Vikings have experienced it all in the last five years - three straight premiership successes ran between 2014-2016 before they had consecutive disappointments in 2017 and 2018.
What will 2019 have in store?
There are numerous sub-plots to Saturday's fixture with Coffs Harbour and it starts with the Snappers - they were the side who broke Hastings Valley hearts in a 21-14 win last year.
But the Vikings have a number of new faces who have re-joined or joined the club to make them arguably a stronger side than the one they fielded then.
Winger Rohan Toft didn't feature in any grade last year as he recovered from a broken leg and he's been arguably their most consistent performer in 2019.
Then there is fullback Dan Willoughby who will line up in game number 100 for the club and be the first to achieve it so quickly.
They finished as minor premiers and will no doubt be confident of overturning the previous two years' worth of disappointment with coach Andrew Kable back at the helm after three years away.
The new face
ROHAN Toft was on the comeback from a severe leg injury when he was told he wouldn't be named in Hastings Valley's reserve grade grand final side last year.
Twelve months on, the 21-year-old will have an important role to play when he lines up on the wing for the Vikings in Saturday's Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union grand final clash with Coffs Harbour at Oxley Oval.
Read full story here: Winger back on deck after grand final selection heartbreak
ANDREW Kable spent three years away from the Vikings before he decided the time was right to return to the club in 2019.
He has returned in style, steering them to the grand final to back up his successes in the 2014 and 2015 campaigns.
It was only a matter of time before he found a role to fill with the club.
"First grade was something I was considering last year," he said.
"I didn't tell anybody but when I found out the club had found a coach I put it on the backburner but then Hamish spoke to me about it last year."
Kable said victory on Saturday would be a fitting result for players who started putting in the hard yards towards the end of last year.
"Some of these guys have been working with me since October when I ran a pre-season program and it's certainly paid off," he said.
We know their first 20-30 minutes will be their best so we've got to start fast and get our noses in front and then grind awayAdam McCormack
The key man
VIKINGS scrum half Adam McCormack has been a regular on grand final day.
It's his carefree, laidback attitude that will go a long way to determining the outcome by 5pm on Saturday afternoon.
While he admits there was added motivation to end a two-year runners-up sequence, what had happened 12 months ago was nothing more than a fading memory.
It has rarely been spoken about.
McCormack said the reason for that was largely due to up to eight new faces who will take their place in the grand final who didn't play last year.
"(Coffs) are pretty much the same team that we played last year, but we're completely different," he said.
Players such as Andrew West, Glen Littler and Rohan Toft will all have no demons to exorcise, but the opening half an hour was where the game could be won or lost.
"We know their first 20-30 minutes will be their best so we've got to start fast and get our noses in front and then grind away," McCormack said.
"Our 40 minutes in the major semi-final was probably the worst we've played all year; we went away from what we do well."
Vikings reserve grade aim for six straight
THERE won't be any added pressure Brent Horan feels when he runs out in his final game for the Hastings Valley Vikings on Saturday.
He won't do anything different, but will have the added comfort of pulling on his favourite pair of finals boots for the grand final clash with Coffs Harbour.
The Vikings will aim for their sixth-straight premiership success in a run where Horan has coincidentally worn those exact same pair of boots.
Read full story here: No added pressure for the last of the reserve grade originals
U14s Vikings aim to make history
HASTINGS Valley Vikings will look to complete the minor and major premiership double when they clash with Southern Cross University at Oxley Oval on Saturday.
The fixture will be a rematch of last year's under-14 decider which the Marlins won 24-12 after they clicked into gear in the second half.
But with a new year comes a fresh chance to create a bit of history.
Read full story here: Vikings under-14s eye a minor and major premiership double
Pirates aim for three from three
PORT Macquarie Pirates hope to hold the edge in experience in Saturday's Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union women's 10-a-side grand final.
Pirates won the inaugural 10s premiership three years ago before they backed it up with success in last year's seven-a-side decider.
Standing in their way in 2019 is an undefeated Coffs Harbour side who will undoubtedly pose their greatest challenge at collecting a third-straight women's premiership.
Read full story here: Pirates women hope experience counts in grand final clash
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