BIG HIT: Wanderers player Tait Poli gets under his Brothers under-17 opponent, who manages to get the ball away.
BIG HIT: Wanderers player Tait Poli gets under his Brothers under-17 opponent, who manages to get the ball away. Marty Strecker Photography

'I hope they play well; obviously not too well'

AARON Poli insists he won't be chasing a Cinderella story when he leads his young Wanderers side into battle against their long-time nemesis.

He just wants to soak up the emotion one final time.

As his talented young team prepares to take the field as a unit for the final time, Poli is also just 60 minutes away from calling time on his junior coaching career.

"I definitely won't be coaching next year. This is the last year of juniors for me and for many of these kids," the former Souths and Sarina A-grade player said.

"We definitely want to go out on a high note."

A familiar foe will greet Poli and his Wanderers team on the grand final field of battle; the same Magpies unit they have shared the premiership spoils with since 2014.

Yet although the colours are the same, the faces are not.

This Wanderers group is an ever-changing contingent, led by the ever-present Poli.

"We've had quite a high turnover of kids over the last five years; kids have come and gone, into and out of town," he said.

"It's been pretty hard for us to get some consistency with guys.

"That might sound like a bit of a cop out, because we've been in four out of six grand finals and won two of them. But that's the truth of it."

One final dance

POLI thanked today's opponents for helping bring the best out of his Wanderers teams in recent years.

Their fierce rivalry is tempered somewhat by a shared respect, forged on the field of battle.

"The level of coaching and competition we've enjoyed with Magpies over the years has taught my kids a lot of things; taught me a lot of things," Poli said.

"I think back to under-11s, when they went the full year undefeated and - I don't think anyone even scored on them.

"The next year we changed a few things and managed to win; over the years Magpies have had to do the same sort of thing to stop us. We've always had to be on our toes.

"Congratulations to Magpies. I hope they play well - just obviously not too well."

Fond farewells

IRRESPECTIVE of tomorrow's result, after 12 years in charge of this team Poli's final game at the helm will be bitterwseet.

"You're more than just a coach to them at this point," Poli said.

"It will be said to part ways. But my son plays in this team, he'll have friends he still knocks around with. I'll see them through the years."