UNDERDOGS: South Lismore's bid for soccer grand final glory
THE weight of expectation will fall on the shoulders of South Lismore captain Paddy Kable in the Far North Coast men's premier division soccer grand final against Byron Bay on Saturday night.
Kable was a fresh-faced 17-year-old when he played in the 2012 premier division grand final for Lismore Workers in a losing effort against Richmond Rovers.
Fast forward to now and a lot hinges on the midfielder, who is the Celtics main attacking weapon and the current Football FNC Player of the Year.
South Lismore can break a 26-year premiership drought at Crozier Field, Lismore, while Byron Bay is aiming for a third straight title.
"It's uncharted territory for most of our guys and the game can't come quick enough, we're pumped," Kable said.
"We've come a long way as a team in a short time; a lot of players at the club never had this opportunity so we know how special this is."
Kable credits the resurgence of the club to coach Cameron Hyde, who took over the Celtics' first division team in 2017.
They won the grand final that year which saw them return to the premier division last season for the first time in 15 years, making it as far as the preliminary final.
"Cameron is a tremendous coach and he works hard to get the best out of every player," Kable said.
"He's a real student of the game and has more knowledge than most people.
"He actually coached me at junior level and he's created a team who play with their heart on their sleeve.
"That's all down to him and everyone else wanting to play well for Cameron."
Byron Bay will also have plenty of emotion with long-time coach Damon Bell finishing up tonight.
He has built a formidable Rams team that has played in five of the past six grand finals.
"They're a dangerous side and their captain James Tomlinson has been one of the best defenders in the competition for a decade," Kable said.
"We have a lot of respect for Byron and they've produced some of the best players in the competition."
Kick-off is 5.30pm.
Games start from 11am with Alstonville playing Lennox Head in the women's premier division at 3.30pm.